White Kansas Store Employee Charged with Murder for Killing Black Shoplifting Suspect

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Carl Kemppainen and Diamond Steen
Carl Kemppainen and Diamond Steen Twitter

A 39-year-old O'Reilly Auto Parts employee, Carl Kemppainen, has been charged with murder days after a 23-year-old shoplifting suspect, Diamond Steen, was strangulated.

Police responded to a call of a disturbance at the O'Reilly Auto parts store on the 4700 block of Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas on Tuesday.

Upon arrival, they were informed two people were allegedly shoplifting from the store. Employees got involved leading to a physical altercation outside the store between the employee and the suspects. The altercation resulted in Steen's death and left another man injured. Authorities confirmed Steen died as a result of strangulation.

Law enforcement officials charged Kemppainen with second-degree murder and ruled Steen's death a homicide, caused by strangulation. Police said the other shoplifter suffered minor injuries and was taken to a hospital. The incident is not suspected to be racially-motivated and authorities are not considering hate crime charges.

His family believes the employees should have handled things differently."You are supposed to stay away from the subject and call the police because you're taking not even yourself at risk you're taking the customers at risk, you're taking the associates at the store at risk," Steen's cousin Ivonnah Echols told local news outlet KAKE.

"If you would've followed the rules, Diamond would still be here. Regardless of the matter, he would still be here," said Steen's aunt Sawnya Helm. "It's disturbing. It's sickening. It's a nightmare to have to navigate through this. It's not even a nightmare, you wake up from nightmares. There's no waking up from this, it's sickening," said Helm.

Kemppainen was booked on a $125,000 bond. According to online jail records, his bond was posted. The range of sentencing for the reckless second-degree murder charge is 109 to 493 months in prison.