KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Wyandotte County District Attorney on Thursday announced charges in the killing of a man outside an O’Reilly Auto Parts store in Kansas City, Kansas.
Carl Ryan Kemppainen, 39, a manager at the store, has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 23-year-old Diamond Steen, of Kansas City, Missouri, after a “physical altercation” with employees on Tuesday night, according to Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree.
Others involved are subjects of ongoing investigations with possible charges pending, according to Dupree.
The incident happened outside the store near N. 47th Street and Parallel Parkway.
Officials said the deadly incident began when two men in their 20’s walked into the O’Reilly Auto Parts store and allegedly stole something. KCK Police Chief Karl Oakman said it was some type of car maintenance fluid.
Oakman said the manager told the alleged thieves to stop, and they didn’t.
Once outside, the manager confronted one of the men and the they got into a fight, which Oakman said led to the manager allegedly killing one of the shoplifters. The police chief said there was no weapon involved, just hand-to-hand fighting.
When officers arrived, they attempted CPR on the man, now identified as Steen, but he was pronounced dead. Emergency workers took the second man to a hospital with minor injuries.
Dupree said Steen’s cause of death was determined to be strangulation.
“The deceased airway was completely stopped and that ultimately caused his death,” Dupree said.
O’Reilly Auto Parts said in a statement to FOX4: “O’Reilly Auto Parts is deeply disturbed by the events, death and injuries that occurred at our store in Kansas City, Kansas. We are cooperating fully with the police investigation.”
While Oakman says Steen and another man who was hospitalized were stealing auto fluid, Dupree says his office is still investigating those claims. But he says cops, not store employees should be the ones trying to enact any sort of arrest.
“They put in many hours and many months of training to learn how to utilize their weapons their skills to detain to de-escalate while maintaining a person’s life so that we can deal with them in the court of law,” Dupree said. “Let there be no mistake it is law enforcement’s job to do the policing, no one else’s and it’s important that the community understands that.”
Kemppainen is being held at the Wyandotte County jail on a $125,000 bond.