Man dies after altercation with security guard at VCU Medical Ce - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Man dies after altercation with security guard at VCU Medical Center

Phillip Whitaker and his wife Karen Ann, who was killed in a 2013 tractor trailer crash. (Credit: Family Photo) Phillip Whitaker and his wife Karen Ann, who was killed in a 2013 tractor trailer crash. (Credit: Family Photo)
Police say 64-year-old Phillip Whitaker, Jr. was injured following an encounter with a security guard at VCU's Ambulatory Care Center pharmacy. (Credit: NBC12) Police say 64-year-old Phillip Whitaker, Jr. was injured following an encounter with a security guard at VCU's Ambulatory Care Center pharmacy. (Credit: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

NBC12 is following the latest into the investigation surrounding a 64-year-old man's death at VCU Medical Center.

Philip Whitaker's family says they're preparing to make funeral arrangements after taking their loved one off of life support. The Henrico man was severely hurt in what witnesses describe as a violent clash with a security guard.

Whitaker was a retired carpenter who came to pick up his medicine on Friday, when he got into an altercation with the guard. Eyewitness Vickie Fields stood next to the man, who would die just two days later. She was at VCU's outpatient pharmacy when she says she saw a security guard approach Whitaker.

"He was actually walking past me, when the altercation happened... the security guard said to him, ‘You need to go to the back of the line,’" she said.

Within moments, she couldn't believe her eyes.

"I saw [the security guard] grab him and throw him. I said, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and then I saw blood and I said, ‘He's hurt bad,’" Fields said.

It happened Friday afternoon. Witnesses say the situation was so drastic, staff members asked some customers to leave that section of the pharmacy. Whitaker was taken to the hospital with what Richmond Police describe as a serious head injury. He died just two days later.

"He walked down and kneeled over to Mr. Whitaker, put both hands behind Mr. Whitaker's head, lifted it up about an inch or so, put it down and then looked over at the pharmacy people and said, ‘Call 911’," Fields recalled.

Detectives have interviewed the guard and expect charges will be filed. VCU says the guard is a contract worker and is no longer working at the pharmacy.

Fields just can't make sense of the tragedy that played out before her.

“For a man to be there to get his medication, and to be thrown on the ground like that for no reason... maybe the guard thought he was going to try to cut [in line]. I don’t know, but it didn’t matter. The guard could have said, ‘If you don’t get at the end of the line, then you don’t get your prescriptions today, Mr. Whitaker,'” she said.

 As for charges in their father's death, RPD is consulting with the Commonwealth's Attorney right now.

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

The Richmond Police Department has taken over the investigation, and reviewed surveillance video of the incident and interviewed eyewitnesses. Detectives would like any additional witnesses to come forward and speak with them.

People with information that may be helpful to the investigation are asked to call Major Crimes Detective Michael Gouldman at (804) 646-3915 or Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. Citizens may also text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by your tip. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

Sadly, this isn't the first time tragedy has hit the Whitaker family.  Family members tell us in 2013, Whitaker's wife, Karen Ann, was killed in a crash involving a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer driver was arrested on numerous charges.

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