Family seeks answers after choking death

By: David Marcus Email
By: David Marcus Email

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Wichita, Kan. -- A Wichita man who police say choked on pork at a local grocery store has died.

The incident happened Monday night at Carniceria El Guero, located in the 500 block of West 21st Street. The family of 51-year-old Joe Guerrero traveled from their home in Ft. Worth, Texas to Wichita, seeking answers as to why he died.

Guerrero's half-sisters Tommie and Sandra Graves say their brother Joe had been homeless on the streets for the past two months after losing his apartment. They say they haven't been told much about what happened to Joe inside the store or just what caused his death.

The Graves say that they arrived in Wichita today from Fort Worth. Joe had been on life support at the hospital since Monday night. Early this morning, they gave permission for him to be taken off life support this morning.

Guerrero grew up in Garden City. His family says he was a good baseball player in high school and was being recruited by colleges. However, he developed a drinking problem as a teen that ruined his chances. They say he wasn't a saint, but at heart, he was a good person who loved his family.

They say they were told Joe was unconscious, without oxygen, for at least 30 minutes. He had broken ribs and several cuts, but it's not known if those injuries occurred before or during EMS efforts to revive him.

Police indicated that Joe had entered the store around 8 p.m. Monday night and without paying, began eating handfuls of pork. However, Joe's family says that he had $35 in his wallet when it was turned over to them at the hospital.

Wichita police are still investigating the incident. The carniceria declined to comment for this story.

Joe's family says they just want to know what happened to him. An autopsy is being performed to determine Guerrero's specific cause of death. Afterwards, his family plans to have his body cremated so they can take his ashes back to Texas and bury them with his family.

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