Shoplifting Suspect Dies after Fight with Bel Air Security Guard

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SACRAMENTO -- Local police and Raley's are investigating what caused the death of a shoplifting suspect at a grocery store in Carmichael.

The incident happened Saturday night at the Bel Air on Manzanita Avenue.

The man died shortly after a fight with a store security officer, but when deputies arrived the suspect was able to speak for a brief time before passing out.

"There was loss prevention personnel fighting with a person who had allegedly stole some items from the store,” said Shaun Hampton from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.

The coroner identified the suspect as 50-year-old Eric Eastland from North Highlands.

Deputies arrived to break up the fight and noticed the man was in bad shape.

"At some point during that conversation he indicated that he potentially had a heart condition and had utilized some illegal substances earlier in the day,” Hampton said.

The man told deputies he had smoked meth that morning and soon passed out. According to Hampton, officers tried to save the man using CPR.

He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

A spokesperson for Bel Air's parent company, Raley's, said in a statement:

“From what we can tell at this time, the third-party officer followed the company’s protocols when dealing with the individual. We are working with the authorities as the investigation continues. And in addition, Raley’s is conducting our own investigation.”

Meanwhile, the sheriff's department says it is doubtful the security officer who fought with the suspect will be charged in his death.

"We don't believe that is going to occur at this point," stated Hampton.

The shoplifting suspect who died is someone law enforcement in the area is familiar with.

The security guard at Bel Air had minor injuries from the fight.

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