Employee found dead outside local H-E-B did not have COVID-19

Photo courtesy of H-E-B
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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) An autopsy to determine the cause of the death of Gatesville H-E-B employee Mario Lee, whose body was found Monday night in the store’s parking lot, can proceed after tests showed Lee did not have the new coronavirus.

The body couldn’t be sent to Dallas for the autopsy until completion of a COVID-19 protocol.

Justice of the Peace Coy Latham said he’ll likely be notified of the preliminary autopsy results on Friday.

Gatesville police found Lee lying in the store parking lot at around 9 p.m. Monday.

Latham pronounced Lee dead and ordered the autopsy.

He said there was no indication of foul play discovered at the scene but he ordered the postmortem exam “out of a measure of caution,” Latham said.

“The police responded with force because we didn’t know what was going on at first,” Latham said, “so we did the coronavirus protocols and secured the location.”

The event caused a stir in the neighborhood near East Main Street and Lutterloh Avenue because police responded in force when the call came in.

A police dispatcher told News 10 Monday night several first responders were sent to the store at about 9 p.m., an hour after it was supposed to close, but at the time she would not disclose the nature of the original call nor anything about what might have happened there.

One Gatesville woman who lives about half-a-block from the store said she still could see flashing lights in the store parking lot as late as 10 p.m.

One person who reported seeing the chaos said there were several police and sheriff’s cars, EMS, fire department units and a SWAT team on scene at the height of the incident.