Transient Dies in Hospital After Struggle With Police

Times Staff Writer

A man identified only as a transient collapsed while struggling with two Fountain Valley police officers outside a restaurant Sunday afternoon and died almost an hour later at a hospital, a police spokesman said.

Police were summoned to Millie’s Restaurant in the 8900 block of Warner Avenue at 2:38 p.m. by a restaurant employee who reported that a man was “acting erratically,” Fountain Valley Police Sgt. Larry Griswald said.

Struggled With Police

Griswald said the two police officers who responded to the call were escorting the man outside when he began to struggle with them, then “lapsed into unconsciousness.” He was rushed to Huntington Humana Hospital in Huntington Beach, where he was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m., he said.


“Frankly, I don’t believe we know the cause of death,” Griswald said.

The district attorney’s office was asked to investigate the man’s death, a department policy when a person dies in police custody, Griswald said.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death is scheduled for today, a spokesman for the coroner’s office said.

Employees who witnessed the incident would not discuss the case Sunday night. But one patron, who declined to identify himself, said he had been told by restaurant employees that the man had been drinking from the water glasses of other patrons before police were called.

The general manager of another restaurant across the street said she had asked the victim three times earlier Sunday to leave their premises.

Gayle Gill, who runs Carrow’s Restaurant on Warner Avenue, said the man was wearing unkempt baggy clothes and a tie and was carrying a purple canvas bag and a plastic grocery bag.

“He looked like a transient and he looked to be in poor health,” Gill said.

She said the man, who police said appeared to be in his mid-30s, walked into her restaurant at 11:30 a.m. and sat down. He was asked to leave, which he did, but returned twice in the next 30 minutes and was again asked to leave.


However, Gill said the man did not bother employees or patrons when he was in the restaurant.

“Throughout the whole time, he never said a word until the last time he left. He said ‘Thank you.’ He gave me no trouble at all, even when I asked him to leave,” she said.