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FDLE Conducting Death Investigation

This information is 7 months 1 week old and may no longer be accurate.

Just before 10:00 p.m. on September 1, 2023, Tampa Police were dispatched to the 8700 block of Hidden River Parkway when a family member reported his brother, a black male in his late 20s, was hallucinating and trying to run into traffic.

Officers arrived and met with the caller, locating the subject pacing back and forth in, and across, the roadway. The subject did not respond to any requests from officers or his family members. As Tampa Police Officers and family worked to calm the subject and aid the caller who was attempting to help his brother, the subject ran around and away from family members and police officers. 

The subject was eventually restrained in a grassy area in the median by Tampa Police and placed in handcuffs. Although the subject was conscious and breathing, he remained non-verbal. Officers immediately requested an ambulance for the subject. Officers continuously talked with the subject, trying to provide reassurance, and requested a bottle of cold water, attempting to cool the subject down.

Upon arrival of Tampa Fire Rescue, the handcuffs were removed from the subject as he was secured to a stretcher before being transported to the hospital. The caller advised responding medics that the subject had rolled and smoked marijuana prior and that his brother has a history of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Prior to transport, the caller thanked officers for their assistance in helping him with his brother.  

While the ambulance was en route to the hospital, the subject began vomiting and went into cardiac arrest. Tampa Fire Rescue paramedics continued providing pre-hospital care during the transport. However, the subject was pronounced deceased upon arrival. Next of kin were notified at the hospital.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this young man,” said Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw. “Mental health crises and substance abuse can be incredibly difficult for all involved, and we are committed to doing everything we can to support those in need.”

"Our thoughts are with the patient's family during this difficult time," added Chief Barbara Tripp of Tampa Fire Rescue. "While our paramedics worked diligently to provide quality care in this situation, it is essential that access to preventative treatment and support services are readily available for both those struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse as well as the affected friends and family members who work to navigate a loved one experiencing a related crisis."

The Tampa Police Department is dedicated to providing compassionate care and assistance to individuals in crisis and trains officers in de-escalation tactics and recognition of symptoms suggesting a person may be experiencing a mental health crisis. For more information about the Tampa Police Department’s commitment to assisting individuals in crisis, please visit tampa.gov/police/mentalhealth.

It is standard procedure for FDLE to investigate any in-custody death, and this case is no exception. The subject was still considered to be in the custody of the Tampa Police Department and in the Baker Act process at the time of his death. The investigation is ongoing, and further information can be released as it becomes available.