MILWAUKEE -- The attorneys at Milwaukee law firm Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C. have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the Stingley family following the death of their 16-year-old son Corey.
Stingley was restrained by three men after allegedly attempting to steal liquor from VJ's Food Mart in West Allis in December 2012. Video surveillance showed him placing bottles of alcohol into his backpack. It showed the clerk confront Stingley as he attempted to purchase another item. Then Stingley appeared to reach for his debit card -- and take off running.
That's when three other customers stepped in -- leading to a struggle. They restrained Stingley until police arrived minutes later. By then, the 16-year-old was not breathing and had no pulse. Medical professionals were able to restore a pulse, but Stingley later died.
A John Doe investigation was held in Milwaukee County in this case. But no criminal charges were filed. The investigation found the evidence did not establish an intent to harm Corey Stingley.
Now, Stingley's family is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the three customers and the store manager involved.
"We have this devastating tragic event that happens to this 16-year-old because we have four adults take the law into their own hands," said Howard Sicula, attorney.
Sicula is one of the attorneys representing the Stingleys. Because this is a civil case instead of a criminal one, he says they do not need to prove that the men intended the acts. They simply need to show they acted unreasonably.
"That it was unreasonable for them to restrain Corey, unreasonable to use physical force on Corey," said Sicula.
They are hoping the lawsuit sends a message that teaches this lesson...
"You have to let the police do their job. You can't take the law into your own hands because tragic things like this can happen," said Sicula.
FOX6 News attempted to contact the three customers and store manager named in this case -- hoping to speak with them on camera. We were not successful.