Sunnyside Police Say Shoplifter Running from Officer Drowned in - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Sunnyside Police Say Shoplifter Running from Officer Drowned in Canal

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We now know the events leading up to the death of a man in a Sunnyside canal near Walmart. We now know the events leading up to the death of a man in a Sunnyside canal near Walmart.
SUNNYSIDE, WA - We now know the events leading up to the death of a man in a Sunnyside canal near Walmart.

Sunnyside police said it started with shoplifting. A loss prevention officer chased the shoplifter through the Walmart parking lot while trying to contact police. Police said the shoplifter ran around the corner of the fence and headed straight for the canal.

"The loss prevention officer didn't see him go into the canal but heard cries for help," said Commander Scott Bailey with the Sunnyside Police Department.

Police said the loss prevention officer went towards the canal and saw the man struggling in the water. He jumped in to try to save the man, but police said the current was too strong and he couldn't grab him.

"At face value they may look very calm and tranquil waters, but down underneath them there's quite a bit of water flowing through there," said Commander Bailey.

The Yakima County Coroner said the man died from asphyxia due to fresh water drowning, and there were no other injuries.

The coroner also said the man is still unidentified, but there are some key features. He's a man in his late 30's to early 40's. He's six foot four and weighs around 225 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. He also has some very distinctive tattoos including a human skull on fire on right shoulder and the name Mary tattooed inside his left forearm with the words "I love you more than life" in Spanish.

We reached out to Walmart for a statement. A spokesperson for the company said this is a tragic situation, and they're sending their condolences to the family. The company also said they're working with law enforcement in everyway they can.
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