Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detectives are assisting the Baldwin Park Police Department with investigation of the in-custody death of a man accused of stealing a U.S. flag, authorities said.
Police were pursuing the suspect when they confronted him and a struggled ensued, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Department. The officers were able to apprehend the man, "but once he was handcuffed [they] noticed he was no longer responsive," the statement said.
The officers took off the handcuffs and immediately began administering aid to the man before paramedics arrived, according to the statement. The man, who appeared to be in his 40s, was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.
His identity was not immediately released. The cause of death remains under investigation.
Authorities said the incident began when police were notified about 3:40 p.m. that the suspect stole a large flag and flag pole from a gas station and was swinging it at cars and people.
When officers arrived at the scene in the 12600 block of Ramona Boulevard, they found the man in a bank parking lot, holding the flag and pole, police said.
The suspect attempted to run, police said, but was eventually confronted by the officers.