CRIME
11/27/2012 12:00 pm ET

Walmart Shoplifting Death: Vidal Calloway, Alleged Thief, Had Multiple Arrests Before Confrontation With Employes

The wife of Vidal Calloway -- the man who died after Walmart workers accused him of stealing DVD players -- says he was a "good man" with a drug problem.

Georgia police say they found a security guard and two other employees on top of Calloway Sunday night in the Lithonia store's parking lot, but are awaiting an autopsy before deciding if they'll file charges, the Associated Press reported.

Calloway has been arrested at least 16 times since 1996 for charges ranging from shoplifting to trespassing to drugs, according to records from the Georgia Department of Corrections and a report by WIST.

"He was a good person, but he just had a problem with drugs," Fatimah Calloway, his wife said to Georgia Daily News. "That's just what it was. He wouldn't hurt anybody."

A store manager chased Calloway out of the Walmart at 1:30 on Sunday morning, claiming that he'd purloined two Blu-Ray DVD players. A security guard and two other employees apprehended him in the parking lot and knocked him to the ground. Calloway fought back against his pursuers, according to statements the workers made to police.

The guard, Jaiviere Pruitt, eventually placed Calloway in a chokehold and told him to tap when he couldn't breathe, according to WXIA.

Dekalb County police said that blood ran from Calloway's nose and mouth when they arrived and that he wasn't breathing, according to WSBT. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Before his identity was revealed yesterday, he'd been described as middle-aged. His actual age is unclear with some reports saying he's 38 and others listing him as 40.

Pruitt, an employee with a private security firm, no longer works in the Walmart. The two company employees, Michael Burton and Phille Roberts have been suspended, a company spokeswoman said.

“This is truly a sad situation," said Dianna Gee said in a statement. "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."

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