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Screaming man, shot by police with sponge gun and Tasers, dies after scuffle in Fullerton

Screaming man, shot by police with sponge gun and Tasers, dies after scuffle in Fullerton
A 22-year-old man was pronounced dead at a hospital following a scuffle with Fullerton police. (Los Angeles Times)

A 22-year-old man died Monday after a fight with officers who tried to detain him after he was reported to be acting erratically and yelling at people as they walked down the street, Fullerton police said.

Police said the man, who has not been identified, rushed officers when they arrived in the 200 block of South Kellogg Avenue after receiving calls about a man screaming in the street.

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Officers fired nonlethal 40-millimeter sponge gun rounds at him, striking him in the upper body with soft-bodied projectiles, but he continued to charge at them, authorities said. Three officers fired their Tasers, but the shock had no effect on the man. A fight ensued, and officers eventually placed him in handcuffs.

Shortly before officers arrived, police said the man had smashed his way into a nearby home. A woman, who was in the house alone, screamed as he punched and kicked her front door down. He entered the home briefly and then left, authorities said.

The man “continued to be violent and uncooperative while in handcuffs,” and a hospital gave paramedics permission to give him a sedative to calm him, according to police. Paramedics drove the man to the hospital for an evaluation, which is standard practice after someone is struck by a Taser.

The man stopped breathing in the back of the ambulance during the ride to the hospital, officials said. Paramedics attempted CPR, but the man was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Three officers were treated at a hospital for injuries, one to his face, another to her neck and a third to his abdomen, police said.

Monday’s incident was not the first time officers had interacted with the man, authorities said.

In a Feb. 2 incident, officers responded to a call in which the same man jumped in front of a fire engine and tried to fight the firefighters inside. Police said they found methamphetamine on the man, and he was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

The Orange County district attorney’s office will investigate the death.

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