Police: Man killed at DeKalb Co. Walmart was serial shoplifter - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Police: Man killed at DeKalb County Walmart was serial shoplifter

Vidal Cornelius Calloway Vidal Cornelius Calloway
LITHONIA, GA (CBS46) -

DeKalb County police said a man who was allegedly shoplifting and then killed by a security guard hired by Walmart has a record.

Vidal Cornelius Calloway had been arrested in DeKalb County multiple times for crimes ranging from shoplifting to drug charges.

Records show Calloway was in and out of jail at least 16 times since 1996.

Following Calloway's death on Sunday, authorities in DeKalb County are still trying to decide whether to criminally charge the security guard involved in the fight.

According to authorities, Calloway was caught shoplifting two DVD players at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the store on Fairington Road in Lithonia.

As Calloway left, the police report said manager Michael Burton chased him out. Burton, employee Phille Roberts and a third-party security guard, Jaiviere Pruitt, reportedly scuffled with the suspect.

The police report said Burton "grabbed him by the hoodie and slammed him down to the ground."

After that, Burton told police Calloway "punched him on the left side of the face, neck, and chest area."

The incident report goes on to say that Calloway was then knocked to the ground by Burton and Pruitt, but continued fighting.

It went on to say that Pruitt "placed the suspect in a choke hold and told the suspect to tap when he can't breathe."

By the time DeKalb County police got to the scene, Calloway was bleeding from his nose and wasn't breathing.

He was later pronounced dead at DeKalb Medical-Hillandale Hospital.

As of late Monday, the DeKalb County medical examiner had not released the cause of death.

Walmart spokeswoman, Dianna Gee said, "This is truly a sad situation. 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. 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."

People who shop at the store and live nearby are trying to figure out how a shoplifting case could end so tragically.

"Senseless death, but those are the chances you take when you do wrong. You never know what's going to happen. And they were doing their job," said shopper Verlene Swader.

Gee said the employees involved in the incident are suspended with pay during the investigation. The company also has cut ties with Pruitt.

Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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