published : 2023-09-26

Store Worker Charged with Murder After Fatal Encounter with Suspected Shoplifter

Carl Kemppainen, 39, faces second-degree murder in death of shoplifter

A photo of Carl Kemppainen, the store worker charged with second-degree murder, standing outside O'Reilly Auto Parts. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

A store worker in Kansas has been charged with second-degree murder after a confrontation with a suspected shoplifter ended in tragedy.

Carl Kemppainen, 39, was arrested following the death of 23-year-old Diamond Steen outside O’Reilly Auto Parts in Kansas City.

According to District Attorney Mark Dupree, the cause of death has been determined as strangulation.

Steen and another male suspect had entered the store and purportedly began shoplifting, leading to a fight that spilled outside.

An image of the Wyandotte County Detention Center where Carl Kemppainen was booked. (Taken with a Canon EOS R)

Tragically, the encounter resulted in Steen's untimely demise, while the other suspect sustained minor injuries.

Dupree emphasized that citizens, including store workers, should not take matters into their own hands, reiterating that law enforcement should handle such situations.

Steen’s cousin, Ivonnah Echols, expressed her belief that the workers should have contacted the police instead of intervening.

Echols highlighted the potential risks to both customers and store associates when individuals decide to engage directly in these situations.

A portrait of Diamond Steen, the 23-year-old shoplifter who tragically lost his life during the altercation. (Taken with a Sony A7 III)

Addressing concerns about racial bias, Dupree stated that while Steen was African American and Kemppainen is white, he does not believe race played a role in the incident.

Kemppainen was subsequently booked in the Wyandotte County Detention Center, but has since been released on bond.

The deceased, who leaves behind two sons and is expecting a third child, will be greatly missed by his loved ones.