A loss prevention officer at the Sunnyside Walmart reported that he tried to save a shoplifting suspect who drowned in an irrigation canal while fleeing from the store, police say.
The suspect’s body was recovered shortly before noon Wednesday from the canal, known as the Sulfur Creek Wasteway. It is about 200 yards away from the Lincoln Avenue store.
Sunnyside police Cmdr. Scott Bailey said that the loss prevention officer told investigators that the suspect was contacted about possible shoplifting at the store. The man — who has not been identified — then ran across the parking lot and toward the canal.
The man apparently jumped or fell into the canal and soon began calling for help because he was not able to leave the canal on his own.
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The loss prevention officer said he heard the man calling for help and jumped in the canal to try to save him, Bailey said. He was able to grab him, but could not bring him to safety because they were in a turbulent area at a waterfall.
“He just could not compete with the water,” Bailey said about the loss prevention officer, whose name has not been released.
The loss prevention officer eventually released the man, got out of the canal and reported the incident to authorities, Bailey said.
The loss prevention officer was not hurt.
The incident remains under investigation. An autopsy is planned for today.