The death of Nathan Hale (West Allis, Wis.) High junior running back Corey Stingley is being investigated by local authorities after the 16-year-old stopped breathing when three convenience store customers allegedly restrained him following a scuffle over stolen beer, according to reports from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the area's FOX 6 affiliate.
The owner of V.J.'s Food Mart told FOX 6 that during a transaction for a separate item the clerk offered Stingley a chance to return the alcohol from his backpack, but when the teen launched over the counter to retrieve his credit or debit card, three male customers intervened.
When police arrived on the scene, Stingley lay motionless outside the convenience store as the three men restrained him, according to reports. The officers handcuffed Stingley but removed them to perform CPR upon realizing he wasn't breathing, West Allis police chief Charles Padgett told the Journal Sentinel.
Paramedics eventually revived Stingley, who was transported to Wauwatosa's Froedtert Hospital, where he was kept on life support until his death on Saturday. He had suffered severe brain damage, the reports said.
"It's unfortunate," said Padgett. "Nobody should die over a shoplifting incident. It's unusual and tragic for everyone involved."
Police detained the three customers for questioning and referred one man to the Milwaukee County district attorney's office "on suspicion of causing injury," according to the Journal Sentinel, and the entire incident remains under investigation. Surveillance cameras reportedly filmed the scuffle inside but failed to capture anything once the commotion carried outside.
"Corey was a special young man with many gifts and talents who loved life and shared his energy with all," the Stingley family wrote on a CaringBridge website set up on Corey's behalf. "Corey was a treasured son, brother, nephew, friend and teammate who will certainly be missed and will remain with us in spirit, which he had an abundance of, for living life to the maximum."
The 5-foot-6, 160-pound Stingley rushed for 158 yards on 42 carries for a Hale football team that finished 4-5 this season, according to WisSports.net. He also ran for the school's track program.