Family of man killed by auto parts store worker mourns their loss

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - Days after 23-year-old Diamond Steen was murdered at the hands of 39-year-old O’Reilly Auto Parts employee Carl Kemppainen, Steen’s family is speaking out exclusively to KCTV.

“If you would’ve followed the rules, Diamond would still be here. Regardless of the matter, he would still be here,” said Steen’s aunt Sawnya Helm.

It’s been a difficult week for Steen’s aunt and cousin Sawnya Helm and Ivonna Echols as they mourn his unexpected loss.

“It’s disturbing. It’s sickening. It’s a nightmare to have to navigate through this. It’s not even a nightmare, you wake up from nightmares. There’s no waking up from this, it’s sickening,” said Helm.

Police responded to a call of a disturbance at the O’Reilly Auto parts store on the 4700 block of Parallel Parkway on Tuesday. Upon arrival, they were informed two people were allegedly shoplifting from the store. Employees got involved leading to a physical altercation outside the store. The altercation resulted in Stein’s death and left another man injured.

Law enforcement officials charged Kempainnen with second-degree murder and ruled Steen’s death a homicide, caused by strangulation. His family believes the employees should have handled things differently

“You are supposed to stay away from the subject and call the police because you’re taking not even yourself at risk you’re taking the customers at risk, you’re taking the associates at the store at risk,” said Steen’s cousin Ivonnah Echols.

The family flew into Kansas City from out of town to begin planning their next steps. Steen is survived by two children with a third on the way. Angela Germany is the mother of his two sons.

“He’s just been a great person ever since I met him. I built a great bond with him, somebody I trusted a lot,” said Germany.

She says now she will have to navigate raising her children without the presence of their father.

“I just wish that didn’t happen because he didn’t deserve that. Nobody deserves that, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” she said.

Although the family is in mourning, they say the fight isn’t over.

“We want our justice and we want to see him behind bars,” said Helm.