Officers save teen shoplifting suspect from drowning in west Wichita

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Wichita police say a 16-year-old shoplifting suspect is in critical condition after she jumped into a retention pond in an attempt to avoid capture. 

Officers responded at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday to a suspicious character report at Kohl's in the 6900 block of West Kellogg. Police spokesperson Charley Davidson said it was reported that there was a group of shoplifters at an east-side location, that they had arrived at the west location and were about to walk out with an "arm load" of merchandise. 

Loss prevention staff confronted the 16-year-old girl and another male suspect after they left the store with over $1,000 in merchandise. Davidson said the pair dropped the items and fled. 

The 16-year-old ran through the parking lot and jumped into a retention pond. She swam to the middle of the pond before saying she couldn't swim. 

"The suspect returned to a shallow area but then made a second attempt to swim across the retention pond," Davidson said. "While swimming, she disappeared in the water..."

Two officers jumped into the water and swam to the teen's last known location. One officer went under the water and found her not breathing and unresponsive. 

The two officers got the girl to shore where another officer began CPR until EMS arrived and took over.

"The female was revived and then taken to an area hospital where she remains in critical...condition."

Davidson said the two officers who jumped in the water also became "violently sick" and were treated and released at a hospital. It is believed that the retention pond contained bacteria. 

The investigation is ongoing. The other suspects, the male with the teen and another female in a vehicle, fled the scene and has not been located.