Man on drugs and in crisis dies after police used stun gun on him while responding to call, HPD says

Shannon Ryan Image
Monday, April 29, 2024
Man on drugs and in crisis died after police used stun gun on him: HPD
The suspect was believed to be under the influence of narcotics and running around nude before becoming physical with officers trying to arrest him, police said, adding that the drugs combined with the stun gun may have caused his heart to fail.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A southeast Houston man, who neighbors and law enforcement say was in crisis, died following an altercation with Houston police Sunday morning.

Family have identified the deceased as Egin Tavera. According to Assistant Houston Police Chief Wyatt Martin, Tavera's heart stopped beating about a minute or so after officers handcuffed him.

Martin said paramedics with the Houston Fire Department worked for about twenty minutes to revive Tavera on scene before transporting him to Southeast Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

Martin said officers called paramedics prior to the encounter because they could tell Tavera had ingested narcotics, and they were very concerned for his wellbeing.

Neighbors ABC13 spoke with said Tavera was running around the neighborhood on Sageleaf Drive, naked, screaming and bloody. At least one of them called 911 around 7 a.m.

By the time officers approached Tavera, it was approximately 7:30 a.m., according to Martin. He was inside a neighbor's back sunroom. The resident showed ABC13 how Tavera broke a glass window to gain entry. He appeared to have injured himself in the process.

Martin said he did not know how many officers used a Taser on Tavera or for how long. He said he could only confirm authorities used a Taser on Tavera at least once. Martin indicated the preliminary belief was that narcotics combined with the Taser may have caused his heart to fail.

The department declined to state what substance Tavera was allegedly using, pending autopsy results. Tavera's cause of death will not be known until that autopsy is completed.

"It appears there may have been long term narcotics use involved," Martin said.

Martin also stated Tavera had been wrestling with officers prior to the Taser. The department declined to disclose how many officers were involved in the physical altercation, citing ongoing investigations.

According to the department, no officers have been placed on leave at this time. The incident is under investigation by multiple entities, including the police department, per protocol.

Martin said officers were wearing body-worn cameras.

Tavera's neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC13, "It's sad. We hope that nowadays there would be more mental health help out there. I really did not think it would end up today with him passing."

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