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Man in police custody dies after showing signs of ‘excited delirium’

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A 35-year-old man who police said was “acting erratically” in a City Heights parking lot before handcuffing him died Thursday in San Diego police custody, authorities said.

Daniel Joseph Armenta died just after 5 p.m., less than 30 minutes after police arrived on the scene, the SAn Diegog County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. The ministry’s homicide unit, which investigates deaths in custody, is investigating.

The incident began when officers were dispatched to a U-Haul business on El Cajon Boulevard near 43rd Street after receiving reports that a man was standing in the roadway and behaving in a manner that authorities have described it as erratic.

When the police arrived, they found Armenta in the parking lot of a nearby gas station. They handcuffed him “without incident,” sheriff’s officials said.

Officers then noticed Armenta showing signs of “excited delirium” and then became unresponsive, according to the sheriff’s department.

They removed the handcuffs, performed CPR on Armenta, and administered a dose of naloxone, a drug known to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Paramedics arrived and assisted with attempts to resuscitate the man. Armenta died before he could be taken to hospital, the department said.

Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Ralph said in a news release that officers recorded the incident on their body-worn cameras. State law requires police to release video of police shootings within 45 days. The San Diego Police Department aims to comply within 10 days, according to its website.

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