Arizona man’s death under investigation after Coralville police used taser to subdue him

BY DI STAFF | JULY 25, 2013 5:00 AM

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Local law-enforcement officials are investigating the death of a man who was reportedly found destroying property at a Coralville business.

Thomas Martinez Jr., 5773 Broadway Ave., Apache Junction, Ariz., died on Tuesday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Paramedics transported him there after he stopped breathing while in the custody of local officers.

According to a Johnson County press release, employees from a business on the 2400 block of Second Street reported that Martinez had been “acting very violently and destroying property” at their business.

Officers were able to calm Martinez, who, according to the release, was sweating profusely and appeared to be having mini-seizures as police interacted with him. His eyes were dilated, and he was not speaking coherently, the release said.

Officers believed Martinez was experiencing medical problems and called the Johnson County Ambulance Service. At the time of the staff’s arrival, Martinez became violent, flailing at officers and paramedics and then struck an officer.

Officers used a Taser twice to subdue Martinez. Martinez stopped breathing as he was being loaded on the stretcher for the hospital, and he was then transported to the UIHC after he started breathing again, the release said.

Officials have reason to believe Martinez may have consumed numerous drugs.

An autopsy is currently being conducted by a deputy state medical examiner to determine the cause of death, and the investigation is ongoing.

— by Kristen East

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