KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas City, Kansas, police officers who responded to a “physical disturbance” that turned into a homicide investigation last week say they found two men taped, bound and zip-tied outside an O’Reilly Auto Parts. One of them didn’t have a pulse.
Court documents are revealing more about the investigation and what suspects and police say happened before 23-year-old Diamond Steen was found dead outside the store. Investigators said he was reportedly put in a chokehold before he died.
Last week, the Wyandotte County district attorney charged 39-year-old Carl Kemppainen with second-degree murder in Steen’s death.
On Tuesday, the district attorney filed more charges related to alleged shoplifting and an altercation that occurred between a shoplifting suspect and store employees.
The new charges are against 23-year-old store employee Royal Ford for battery and 23-year-old Keysean Perkins for theft and obstruction. Perkins tried to leave the store with Steen, according to court papers.
Detectives who interviewed Kemppainen said he told them he was aware of shoplifting at a different O’Reilly location days earlier.
He believed two Black men who came to the store at 47th and Parallel were the same men and were driving the same car described in the previous incident, court records say.
Kemppainen said he saw Perkins put a can of car paint in his pocket and took a package of sand paper as well, items valued at $73. Detectives say Steen and Perkins were seen on surveillance leaving the store without stopping at the front counter registers.
The video showed Kemppainen run after them and try to get them to stop by shutting a car door and taking a key fob from Steen.
After he threw the key fob across the parking lot, court documents say Kemppainen placed Steen in a chokehold when Steen tried to get the keys.
Detectives said the video then showed Perkins attempt to diffuse the situation by dropping a paint can and attempting to get Kemppainen to release Steen from the chokehold. At that point, Ford pulled Perkins away and attempted to detain him, according to court records.
A third employee went in the store and returned with tape, detectives say, and they attempted to wrap Perkins’ wrists and ankles.
Court documents say the video showed Ford stomped on Perkins’ neck and upper back, leading to a cut that needed stitches.
When detectives attempted to speak with Perkins, he gave them a fake name, leading to the obstruction charge. He didn’t give a formal interview and requested an attorney.
In a review of in-store cameras and witness video, detectives said they never saw Steen nor Perkins punch or fight Kemppainen.
A witness who gave detectives video corroborated the struggle between the suspects and employees. The witness also said that after Steen’s body appeared lifeless, Kemppainen let his body fall to the ground face down, and then sat on his back.
O’Reilly Auto Parts provided this statement to FOX4 last week:
“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.”
DA Mark Dupree said during a news conference that law enforcement officers are the only ones who should attempt to make an 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.”
Perkins and Ford are due in court on Oct. 17. Kemppainen has posted local bond of $125,000, but is still in custody on out-of-state charges. He’s also due in court on Oct. 17.