Suspect dies in police custody in Poplar Bluff

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KAIT)- A suspect died in police custody Thursday in Poplar Bluff.

Poplar Bluff police were called to Casey's General Store on South Broadway Street for a report of a man creating a disturbance, disrobing and creating property damage, according to Chief Danny Whiteley with the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

The caller told police the suspect was damaging items in the store. When officers arrived at the parking lot of the store, the man was stripped down to his shorts, yelling incoherently and appearing to be delusional, according to Whiteley.

Police say the same man was behaving erratically prior to the July 4th parade, and officers had called an ambulance to transport him to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center.

Officers handcuffed the 40-year-old man and put him in a patrol car and determined he needed to go to a hospital.

That's when police say the suspect started kicking windows and security screen out of the car.

Whiteley says this forced the officers to stop the car to try to secure the man. As the officers opened the car door, he began kicking at them. After a struggle, officers called for an ambulance to transport him to the hospital.

According to the chief, the man became unresponsive and officers began administering CPR to him. He was transported by ambulance to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley contacted Butler County Coroner Jim Akers and the Missouri State Highway Patrol and requested the Division of Drug and Crime Control to handle the investigation.

Police have not released the person's name.