Accused shoplifter dies after store employees sit on him - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Accused shoplifter dies after store employees sit on him

The medical examiner is working to determine the man’s cause of death. (Source: WCBS/CNN) The medical examiner is working to determine the man’s cause of death. (Source: WCBS/CNN)

NEW YORK (WCBS/CNN) – Police are investigating whether or not a crime occurred after a homeless man who was accused of shoplifting went into cardiac arrest and died following a scuffle with store employees.

Ralph Nimmons, 51, who was described by witnesses as homeless, went into a Stop and Shop Saturday morning and was suspected of shoplifting.

"Someone volunteered to pay for his food. She pulled out her money to pay for whatever they said he stole, but they wouldn't take her money,” bystander Jacene McDonald said.

Instead, witnesses say three employees wrestled Nimmons to the floor and sat on him.

"He wasn't trying to be held. He was trying to get out. ‘I'm getting outta here. I’m getting outta here.’ So, they sat on top of him to hold him until the police got here, and he just stopped breathing,” McDonald said.

When police arrived, they found Nimmons lying on the floor, unconscious and unresponsive.

First responders attempted to revive the man with CPR, and he was rushed to the hospital, where he later died. Firefighters say Nimmons went into cardiac arrest.

"It's like whatever he was stealing – couple dollars – was worth his life?” McDonald said.

The medical examiner is working to determine Nimmons’ cause of death.

Stop and Shop says it is working with police to assist in the investigation.

Copyright 2018 WCBS via CNN. All rights reserved.

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