Ann Marie Balboa paced up and down a Little Village alley sobbing today as she searched for the precise spot where her ex-husband was choked to death after he shoplifted crayons and toothpaste from a pharmacy over the weekend.
“I was told it happened here (in the alley), but I don’t know where,” she said.
Chicago police said Anthony Kyser, 35, had run into the alley after stealing the small items and being chased out of the CVS Pharmacy by one employee Saturday morning. He fell unconscious during a struggle with the employee and later died, police said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office found that Kyser was strangled to death and ruled it a homicide. But Chicago police determined the death was accidental, saying a store manager put a chokehold on Kyser as he tried to restrain him. The department, though, declined to elaborate further on its decision not to pursue criminal charges.
A spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said Monday evening that the office had not been formally asked by Chicago police to review the case for charges.
According to a law enforcement source, police didn’t pursue charges against the store manager because there was no obvious indication that he intended to harm the shoplifting suspect.
CVS officials said the company is investigating the employee’s conduct and that he won’t return to work until the probe is completed.
“We are investigating this unfortunate incident and are fully cooperating with police,” CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis said in an e-mail from company headquarters in Rhode Island.
Surveillance video and witness accounts helped police piece together what happened in the 2600 block of South Pulaski Road.
According to the law enforcement source, the manager and Kyser wrestled in the alley as others stepped in to help subdue the suspect.
An off-duty Cook County sheriff’s correctional officer happened to be on the scene and assisted the CVS employee by calling 911, said Chicago police Lt. Maureen Biggane, a police spokeswoman. The officer also told the suspect to stop struggling and relax, according to the law enforcement source. When police arrived, Kyser was unresponsive, Biggane said.