Photo by Alexander Nguyen
Photo by Alexander Nguyen

A 44-year-old El Monte man who became unresponsive and then died after being handcuffed by police who collared him for stealing a flag and flagpole in Irwindale was identified Thursday by the coroner’s office.

Oscar Ruiz was taken from the 3800 block of Durbin Street to a hospital, where he died 3:35 p.m. Saturday, said Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau and coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter.

According to Hernandez, Baldwin Park police responded to a report of a male (Ruiz) lying in the sidewalk in the 12600 block of Ramona Boulevard.

“When the officers arrived, they were told that Ruiz had stolen a large American flag and flag pole from a gas station and had been swinging it at cars and people in the area,” Hernandez said.

Witnesses directed the officers to Ruiz, who was across the street in a bank parking lot in Irwindale, she said.

“When the officers went to contact Ruiz, they he still had the flag pole and flag,” Hernandez said. “Ruiz attempted to run from the officers and a struggle ensued.

“The officers were able to handcuff Ruiz, but once he was handcuffed they noticed he was no longer responsive,” she said.

The officers removed the cuffs and began to render aid while awaiting paramedics before Ruiz was taken to a hospital, she said.

Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives are assisting in the “in-custody related death,” Hernandez said.

— City News service 

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