Former security guard indicted on manslaughter charge following altercation at VCU pharmacy

Margo Maier
News editor

A grand jury charged a former LEW & Associates security guard of involuntary manslaughter for an altercation with a 64-year-old man at a VCU Medical Center pharmacy on Aug. 20.

Butch Whitaker, 64, died two days after the Aug. 7 altercation with security guard George Brown Jr., 67. Police reports described the incident as an “assault,” which left Whitaker with a “serious head injury” and unresponsive on the floor of the pharmacy.

“The guard was standing right beside him and he seemed really agitated,” said Joana Suarez, who was standing in line at the pharmacy when the altercation occurred. Although she did not see the incident, she said the guard was not coming to Whitaker’s aid as he was unresponsive on the floor.

LEW & Associates confirmed that Brown has been dismissed from the Richmond-based company following his indictment in the alleged manslaughter of Whitaker.

“We are devastated by the accident that occurred at VCU Ambulatory Care,” said a statement from the Richmond-based security firm. “We remain devastated by Mr. Whitaker’s death and continue to hold his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Whitaker’s daughter, Tammy Harris, has reached out to local media to express her disdain for the way the investigation of her father’s death is being treated.

“We had to find out about the charges on social media and not the police. I found out through a post on Facebook. It’s very frustrating,” Harris said in an interview with CBS 6.

The cause of Whitaker’s death is unclear, and while there is surveillance footage in addition to multiple eyewitness accounts of the incident, Whitaker’s family was not privy to this information before Brown’s indictment.

As of Aug. 20, court officials couldn’t say if Brown had been taken into custody, and there was no record of his arrest, arraignment or if he has retained an attorney.

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