Pharmacy Customer Dies After Security Guard Altercation

A man in Virginia was knocked unconscious in an altercation with a security guard at an ambulatory care pharmacy and died 2 days later.

A man in Virginia was knocked unconscious in an altercation with a security guard at an ambulatory care pharmacy and died 2 days later.

Phillip Whitaker Jr, 64, underwent surgery for bleeding in his brain after the incident, which took place at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical ambulatory pharmacy, WTVR reported.

Whitaker’s family said he died while he was still on life support.

Joana Suarez told WTVR that she was in the pharmacy on August 7, 2015, and heard Whitaker’s name on the loudspeaker, which told Whitaker to wait at the back of the line to pick up his medicine. Later, she heard a loud thump— allegedly Whitaker hitting the ground.

Because of an issue with his prescription, it was the second time he was called up to wait in line. Witnesses said Whitaker did not want to wait in the line again and told the guard that there was a problem, WTVR reported.

“Philip may not have wanted to go to the back of the line, but [the guard] had to understand him, comprehend him, be on his side, be like, ‘You know what, it’s okay, your turn will come up soon, just wait at the back of the line.’” Suarez told WTVR. “There’s no need to tackle him and all that happened.”

Whitaker was unresponsive, and while other people in the store were attending to him, the guard allegedly did not offer assistance.

Video surveillance recorded the incident, and police said charges were expected against the guard.

The guard did not work directly for VCU but was a contract employee.

“We are heartsick about this tragedy,” a VCU statement read. “Our first concern is for the family and we are doing everything we can to support them.”