Jail death under investigation

LUFKIN, TX Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas said Thomas Joseph Kirksey, 28, was unresponsive after being taken from the jail to Memorial Health System of East Texas, where he was pronounced dead at 5:10 p.m. Monday. An autopsy has been ordered.

Natassha Kirksey said she repeatedly called the jail throughout Monday afternoon and was told her husband, who she said was high on PCP at the time and probably suffering from paranoia and hallucinations "was uncontrollable."

"They said he was uncontrollable and he was not cooperating with officers. So I called back every 30 minutes to check on him," she said in a story in Tuesday's online edition of The Lufkin Daily News. "I called and I called and I called. And they kept telling me the same thing: that he was uncontrollable."

Natassha Kirksey told the newspaper a hospital nurse told her Thomas Kirksey was stunned with a Taser gun five or six times before suffering cardiac arrest. Sheriff Kent Henson said Thomas Kirksey was not being stunned with a Taser gun when he died.

Henson declined further comment because of the ongoing investigation.

Police responded to a family disturbance call early Sunday and arrested Thomas Kirksey without incident. He was booked for outstanding traffic tickets, warrants for probation revocation for child support and failure to pay fines for possession of a controlled substance, according to Lt. David Young and jail records.

Maskunas said he is investigating the case and expects to present it to the grand jury at some point.

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