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Authorities: Man who showed signs of ‘excited delirium’ in City Heights dies in police custody

A 35-year-old man who police said was “acting erratically” in a City Heights parking lot before they placed him in handcuffs died Thursday in San Diego police custody, authorities said.

Daniel Joseph Armenta died just after 5 p.m., less than 30 minutes after police arrived on the scene, the SAn Diegog County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. The department’s Homicide Unit, which investigates in-custody deaths, is investigating.

The incident began when police officers were dispatched to a U-Haul business on El Cajon Boulevard near 43rd Street after receiving information that a man standing in the roadway and behaving in a way authorities described as erratic.

When police arrived, they found Armenta in a nearby gas station parking lot. They placed him in handcuffs “without incident,” sheriff’s officials said.

The officers then noticed that Armenta was displaying signs of “excited delirium,” and then he became unresponsive, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

They removed the handcuffs, performed CPR on Armenta and administered a dose of naloxone, a medication known to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Paramedics arrived and took over attempts to revive the man. Armenta died before he could be taken to a hospital, the department said.

Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Ralph said in news release that officers recorded the incident on their body-worn cameras. State law requires police to release video of police shootings within 45 days. The San Diego Police Department aims to comply within 10 days, according to its website.

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