Alleged Wal-Mart shoplifter dies after fight with store security
An alleged Wal-Mart shoplifter died in the hospital following an altercation with store security, authorities say.
Jose Marcos Picazo, 41, of Azusa, walked out of a Covina store Friday afternoon without paying for merchandise and was tracked to the parking lot by loss-prevention officers, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Holly Francisco.
“They went outside to detain him, and basically, the fight was on,” Francisco said. “He resisted them and they began fighting. They were able to get him down on the ground and that’s when the Covina police officers arrived.”
Ed Winter, spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, said while Picazo was in custody he "became unresponsive" and died a short time later at Inter-Community hospital in Covina. He also said an autopsy on Picazo's body to determine his cause of death is pending.
Francisco said she did not believe the suspect sustained any injuries, but when officers got to the scene, they found Picazo in what Francisco called “medical distress.” She added that “nothing” related to store security practices “appeared to be out of compliance.”
Wal-Mart, Inc. spokeswoman Dianna Gee told the Associated Press that the loss of life is a sad situation but there are many unknowns. Gee added that Wal-Mart is providing police with its surveillance footage, and Francisco said authorities are interviewing involved parties.
The suspect allegedly had taken miscellaneous items including clothing and personal products valued at under $950, according to Francisco.
— Matt Stevens
Photo: File art of a Los Angeles Wal-Mart. Credit: Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images