Santa Ana police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office were investigating how a suspect, who became unresponsive while in the back of a squad car, lapsed into a coma and was being kept alive by respirators Thursday.

The suspect, whose name and age were not immediately released, was considered brain-dead and was on life-support to preserve his organs for donation, Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

At about 9:40 a.m. Sunday, Santa Ana police were helping Anaheim police arrest a robbery suspect, Bertagna said. Anaheim investigators told Santa Ana police the suspect was possibly around 1500 N. Harbor Blvd., where officers found his car parked at Pueblo Motel, Bertagna said.

Santa Ana police maintained surveillance on the suspect’s car while waiting for Anaheim police to respond, but before Anaheim officers arrived the suspect exited the motel, so Santa Ana officers arrested him, Bertagna said.

While in the back seat of the police car, the suspect became unresponsive, so officers attempted to revive him before paramedics arrived, Bertagna said. The suspect was rushed to an area hospital, where he was revived, but lapsed into a coma and was placed on life-support machines, Bertagna said.

At about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, doctors declared he was brain-dead, but left him on life support so his organs could be harvested, Bertagna said.

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