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Ontario Man Subdued by Police Dies

Officers believed the 29-year-old had overdosed when they saw him screaming. He stopped breathing after they restrained him.

May 29, 2003|Seema Mehta | Times Staff Writer

An Ontario man who allegedly overdosed on methamphetamine early Wednesday morning stopped breathing and died after four police officers handcuffed him and were holding him down, authorities said.

Police said Jesse Martinez, 29, was running in the street and screaming when rescue personnel arrived. When he became unruly, officers restrained him and he stopped breathing a short time later, police said. Attempts by paramedics to revive Martinez were unsuccessful.

Police are investigating the incident as an overdose. The cause of death is unknown. An autopsy is scheduled today.

Martinez, who lived in the 2000 block of South Mountain Avenue in Ontario, called 911 about 12:45 a.m. from his apartment.

"He was screaming, he was upset, indicating to dispatch he was overdosing on methamphetamines and felt he was going to die," said Ontario Police Cpl. David McBride.

Dispatchers tried to calm Martinez, but he dropped the phone and could be heard screaming and running in the background, McBride said. Police and fire personnel were sent to the scene. Fire personnel arrived first, and found Martinez in the middle of the street.

"He was running around ... acting real strange," McBride said. "It's pretty common for someone who is overdosing, especially on methamphetamines."

Fire personnel kept back, waiting for police. When officers arrived, Martinez sat on the curb and asked for help, McBride said. But when an officer approached the man to restrain him in handcuffs, he allegedly became combative.

"For safety, they attempted to handcuff him," McBride said. "After or while they were dealing with him, he started becoming physically uncooperative."

Four officers tried to control Martinez, holding his arms and legs, he said.

"At some point, while they were trying to restrain him, they noticed he had stopped breathing and apparently went into full medical arrest," McBride said.

After fire personnel began CPR, Martinez was placed in an ambulance and taken to Chino Valley Medical Center. Hospital workers continued to treat him, but he was later pronounced dead.

San Bernardino County Supervising Deputy Coroner Randy Emon said toxicology test results could take six weeks to four months.

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