Fullerton Mayor Jesus Silva Wednesday asked interim Chief Robert Dunn “to diligently review” the in-custody death of a 22-year-old man who was seen on security video breaking down the door of a woman’s home.
Silva also asked for a review of “any body-worn camera video, for compliance with the Fullerton Police Department’s standards and protocols.”
Police Lt. Jon Radus said the department “has already begun a thorough, thoughtful, and diligent review of the circumstances that not only led up to the incident on Monday, February 11th, but also what occurred during and after the incident to ensure that all our officers involved, from start to finish, acted both within our department policy and the law.”
“Our review, independent of the DA’s review, will of course include reviewing all body worn cameras of everyone involved, any relevant police reports, witness statements, evidence at the scene, and interviews,” Radus said.
Following the death “as is standard practice for any in-custody death involving Fullerton police officers, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office was contacted and investigators responded for an independent investigation of the circumstances leading up to the in-custody death,” Radus said.
Silva also asked the public “for your patience as we thoroughly examine this situation.”
Officers responded at 5:22 p.m. Monday to a disturbance call reporting a man who was acting erratically and yelling at people as they walked in the 200 block of Kellogg Drive.
As police officers arrived, the man rushed them, and the officers fired less-than-lethal rounds at him, striking him in the upper body, although with no effect, Radus said.
The man, whose name was not released, continued to rush officers, who then used their Tasers on him, but those also had no effect and he continued to rush officers and a fight ensued in which three officers were injured, Radus said.
Officers were able to place the man in handcuffs, but he continued to be violent and uncooperative, Radus said. Video from the scene showed six officers needed to subdue the man, who continued to struggle with officers while on the ground.
Paramedics were called to take the man to a hospital, but he continued to fight with medical personnel and they contacted the hospital and were granted permission to administer a sedative in order to calm him down, Radus said. The male calmed down and was placed in an ambulance and taken to a local hospital.
While on the way to a hospital, the man stopped breathing in the ambulance and paramedics began CPR and continued to do so until they reached the hospital, where emergency room staff continued life-saving measures, but the man was later pronounced dead, Radus said.
One officer suffered injuries to his face, another suffered an injury to her neck, and the third an injury to his stomach, Radus said. All were treated and released.
Police later learned that about 4 p.m., the man tried to break into a woman’s home, Radus said.
The woman, who was home alone and did not know the suspect, could be heard screaming as the man repeatedly punched and kicked the door, then made his way into the home before running out a few seconds later, Radus said.
The suspect was also involved in an altercation with Fullerton firefighters on Feb. 2 in the area of Magnolia and Valencia, Radus said. The man jumped in front of a fire engine and tried to fight with firefighters as they left the scene of an incident at the location. He was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and held for a mental evaluation and taken to a hospital.
Anyone with information about this incident, and the other incidents mentioned, is urged to contact the Fullerton Police Crimes Against Persons Unit at (714) 738-6776. Those wishing to provide information anonymously can call Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227 or visit www.p3tips.com/913.