Detained man dies after ‘erratic behavior’
A man’s death Wednesday night after running into traffic at an intersection, possibly under the influence of drugs, and being detained by Anchorage police is under investigation.
Anchorage police identified the man Thursday afternoon as 48-year-old Robert D. Ouellette.
Officers had initially received reports of Ouellette “running in and out of traffic with no shoes and yelling” near C Street between West 13th and West 15th Avenues, at about 8:30 p.m. according to an APD statement. Arriving officers found him near West 15th and took him into custody, although he “continued to display erratic behavior.”
“Officers believed [Ouellette] was having health issues, possibly under the influence of drugs, and requested medics,” police wrote. “[He] then went unconscious. Officers immediately began to render aid and began performing life-saving measures.”
Anchorage Fire Department medics responded and took Ouellette to a hospital, where he died. APD homicide detectives responded West 15th to begin an investigation of the incident.
APD spokesman MJ Thim said there were no signs that Ouellette had been struck by a vehicle, and “no indications that any force was used at all by the officers.” No specific reports had come in about what he was yelling.
“I don’t believe people could understand what he was saying,” Thim said.
Investigators are still trying to determine what drugs Ouellette may have been using, or whether he showed any signs of being suicidal. A determination of his cause of death will be made by the state medical examiner’s office.
After APD’s investigation is complete, Thim said, the state Office of Special Prosecutions will conduct an independent review of the case as an in-custody death. Thim didn’t immediately have word early Thursday on when APD’s last in-custody death had occurred.
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