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Man Dies After Attacking Santa Ana Store Owner

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Police believe that a drug overdose is what killed a 20-year-old man who died after storming into a doughnut shop early Monday and slashing the store owner’s face with a shard of glass before being wrestled to the floor by a witness.

Ricardo A. Rodriguez of Santa Ana lapsed into unconsciousness and died at 2:14 a.m. in the arms of a customer who pulled him away from the wounded store owner, Santa Ana police spokeswoman Maureen Haacker said.

The identities of the store owner and the customer were not released.

Police received a phone call from someone complaining that a man possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol was creating a disturbance in the 2000 block of West 1st Street.

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Witnesses reported that Rodriguez had been outside the doughnut shop before the incident acting in a way that suggested PCP use, Haacker said.

“He was running wildly through the streets and the parking lot (of the shop) just prior to entering the doughnut shop,” she said.

Rodriguez then bolted into the shop and lunged for the owner, witnesses told police. He began slashing at the owner with a shard of glass he was carrying. The owner suffered cuts to his face and neck but was not hospitalized.

A customer grabbed Rodriguez around the waist and wrestled him to the floor.

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“The suspect was exhibiting unusual strength and was difficult to restrain,” Haacker said.

PCP users often exhibit erratic behavior and show almost superhuman strength, police said.

After Rodriguez was restrained, he fell into a state of unconsciousness, Haacker said. Paramedics, who arrived at the scene before police, pronounced him dead.

Haacker said Rodriguez had no apparent wounds. An autopsy will be held.

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