Wife wants answers in husband's death at Walmart

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —

The wife of the suspected shoplifter who died in a Walmart parking lot talked to Channel 2 Action News Monday.

Fatimah Calloway identified the man as Vidal Calloway, 40.

A police investigation is under under way to find what caused his death Sunday morning.

According to a police report, the man was suspected of shoplifting two Blu-Ray/DVD players from a Walmart on Fairington Road in Lithonia when he got into a struggle with two store employees.

A contracted security guard was also involved, according to the report.

"They took three people to hold him down and choke hold him," Fatimah Calloway told Channel 2's Carl Willis. "How can you do that? One person with no weapon? All for two DVD players?"

When police arrived, they found the employees on top of the man. The employees claimed he was still fighting and combative.

The officer put the man in handcuffs but stated that he noticed there was no resistance from him.

The officer had the employees get off the man and noticed he was unresponsive and bleeding from his nose and mouth.

Paramedics came and transported the man to DeKalb Medical-Hillandale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"I just don't think it was worth his life," said Calloway. "They could have let him go and waited for the police and made a police report. That's not their merchandise. That's Walmart's merchandise. They didn't have to kill him for it."

"This is truly a sad situation," said Walmart spokeswoman Diana Gee. "We don't know all of the facts right now. We're in the process of working with law enforcement to determine all of the facts and cooperating and providing any information we have to assist in the investigation."

"The two associates involved in the incident are currently suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. The security officer involved will no longer be providing services to us," she said.

Calloway told Willis her husband had a drug problem and that that may have been why he was allegedly shoplifting.

"He was a good person, but he just had a problem with drugs," she said. "That's just what it was. He wouldn't hurt anybody."

Gee said Walmart employees are trained to avoid putting themselves or customers at risk.

"Our associates are trained that the safety of our customers and our associates is our first priority. No amount of merchandise is worth someone's life. Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk," added Gee. "That being said, this is still an active investigation, and we're working with police to provide any assistance."

Willis checked with the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office and the DeKalb County Police Department, but the cause of death was not released Monday night.

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