RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond family is grappling with the death of a loved one after a man died from a sudden cardiac arrest in a parking lot last month.

Malikah Williams told 8News that the death of her brother, Antonio Eley, prompted her to learn the signs of cardiac emergencies. She described the type of person her brother was before his untimely death.

“He was the type of person — he’ll give his shirt off his back to anybody,” she said.

Williams said her brother was a father of five and was known as “the protector” of the family.

“They really don’t — and they are never going to — know their dad,” Williams said.

Around 2 a.m. on Jan. 25, 2023, Eley was reportedly seen entering a 7-Eleven on West Broad Street. Eight hours later, he was found unresponsive in his car in the parking lot by emergency crews.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH), approximately 90% of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die — often within minutes.

Williams told 8News that the loss of her brother encouraged her to become better prepared in the event of a cardiac arrest and she is now encouraging others to do the same.

“I want to be able to help somebody and I don’t want the same thing that happened to my brother to happen to someone else,” she said.

Cardiac arrest occurs when a person’s heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body — including to vital organs, such as the brain.

According to the NIH, a person may be having a cardiac arrest if they:

  • Collapse suddenly and lose consciousness
  • Are not breathing, or their breathing is ineffective
  • Do not respond to shouting or shaking
  • Do not have a pulse

In a situation where someone may be experiencing a cardiac arrest, bystanders are encouraged to call 911 and — if trained — begin performing CPR. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) should also be used if available.