KANSAS CITY, KS – A Kansas City store employee has been charged with second-degree murder following the death of a suspected shoplifter, according to local authorities. Carl Kemppainen, 39, was taken into custody in relation to the death of 23-year-old Diamond Steen, which occurred outside an O’Reilly Auto Parts store last week, as reported by the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office.
The District Attorney, Mark Dupree, confirmed in a press briefing that the autopsy results indicated strangulation as the cause of death. He explained that Steen’s airway was completely blocked, leading to his demise. Steen, along with another male, allegedly entered the store with the intent to shoplift, which resulted in a physical altercation with store employees. The fight, which started inside the store, eventually moved outside, where Steen lost his life. The second suspect sustained minor injuries.
Dupree emphasized that citizens, including store employees, should not attempt to enforce the law themselves. He stated that law enforcement agencies are responsible for maintaining law and order, not civilians.
Ivonnah Echols, a cousin of the deceased, expressed her belief that the store employees should have contacted the police instead of engaging with the suspects. She argued that such actions not only put the employees at risk but also endanger customers and other associates in the store.
Dupree also addressed questions about potential racial motivations in the incident. He stated that while the deceased was African American and the defendant was white, he did not believe race was a factor in the incident.
Kemppainen was held at the Wyandotte County Detention Center on a $125,000 bond, which he subsequently posted and was released, according to online jail records. Steen, who leaves behind two sons and was expecting a third child, will be remembered by his family and friends.