Autopsy shows man who died in struggle at Antioch supermarket had meth in his system

A preliminary autopsy shows a 34-year-old man who stopped breathing during a fight Wednesday night with a grocery employee died from a combination of drugs in his system and the excitement of the struggle, Antioch police said Friday.

A Lucky Supermarkets staffer told police that he caught the man, identified as Antioch resident Michael Hamilton, trying to shoplift meat from the butcher's counter shortly before 10 p.m. at the store at 3190 Contra Loma Boulevard.

When the 56-year-old employee confronted him, Hamilton reportedly attacked and the two struggled, the staffer told police.

Hamilton stopped breathing and emergency crews tried unsuccessfully to revive him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The Contra Costa County Coroner's autopsy shows Hamilton didn't die as a result of a chokehold, carotid restraint or pressure to the neck, authorities said.

A preliminary drug screen showed there was methamphetamine in Hamilton's system, but the exact amount will be determined when a full toxicology report is completed, according to police.

The store employee was treated for minor injuries and released from a hospital Wednesday night.