FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A man died while in police custody after he was arrested for shooting his ex-girlfriend in Selma on Saturday afternoon, according to the Fresno Police Department.
Just after 12 p.m., Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies were called out to a home near Golden State Boulevard and Dinuba Avenue for a report of domestic violence.
When deputies arrived, they found a woman suffering from a gunshot wound to her face in the back room of her home.
She was rushed to a local hospital, where police say she is in critical condition.
Following the shooting, police say the suspect, later identified as the victim’s 39-year-old ex-boyfriend, carjacked a mother and her four children and started driving towards Fresno with the family still inside the vehicle.
During the car ride, police say one of the children pretended to need medical attention in an attempt to get the suspect to stop the car.
“One of the children – from what I understand – was very very smart and actually faked an asthma attack,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama.
Police say the suspect ended up pulling over and letting the family out of the car before driving into a neighborhood near Peach and Butler avenues.
After arriving in the neighborhood around 1:30 p.m., police say several neighbors called 9-1-1 on the suspect to report he was acting suspicious and was knocking on doors.
When officers arrived, they found the suspect, who they say was acting erratically and appeared to be on high on drugs. Officers tried to take the man into custody, but police say he became combative and started to resist.
“The suspect was still talking, breathing, still being combative with the officers – tried to kick them several times,” said Chief Balderrama.
As officers struggled with the suspect, they reportedly tased him before using three pairs of handcuffs in an effort to restrain him.
“The officers are simply trying to talk to this person, trying to get him to calm down, asking for his arms, trying to get him cuffed and secure, at which point he starts having medical complications,” explained Chief Balderrama.
The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital, where police say he later died.
“The issue appears to be that this is something related to drug abuse and perhaps excited delirium,” Chief Balderrama said.
The suspect’s cause of death is currently unknown and is being investigated as an in-custody death.
Authorities have not released the suspect’s identity, but say he was a known gang member and was on parole at the time of his death.