Man dies while in Phoenix police custody after attempting to break into homes
Sgt. Melissa Soliz, a department spokesperson, explains in the "critical incident briefing" that police received calls about a man acting erratically near 27th and Van Buren avenues. Soliz said callers reported that the man tried to enter homes, struck his head against walls and was falling over.
Soliz shared portions of several 911 call recordings where callers reported the man was trying to break into their respective residences and speculated that he could be on drugs.
Responding officers found the man, later identified as Enrique Cantu III, hunched over outside a residence. Body-camera footage shows an officer asking Cantu what was going on before Cantu gets up and bumps into one of them. Two officers force Cantu to the ground and place him in handcuffs.
One officer can be heard saying, "Relax, man ... trying to help you out," as Cantu makes incoherent noises. The officers try to get Cantu onto his feet and later situate him so he is lying on his side and called the Fire Department to evaluate him.
Responding firefighters begin evaluating Cantu, who seems to spasm occasionally, but later have the police officers remove his handcuffs after noticing that his condition had deteriorated significantly. A firefighter can be seen giving Cantu chest compressions before he was taken to a hospital where he later died.
Soliz said the Maricopa County Medical Examiner will determine Cantu's cause of death.