Suspect Dies in Police Custody

Suspect Dies in Police Custody

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Sammy Linebaugh reportingSalt Lake Police respond to a call of suspicious activity in a west Salt Lake neighborhood. A man later dies in police custody.

The initial call to police came about 10:00 Friday night. But trouble for the neighborhood really began Thursday night, when police say they responded to a domestic violence call, and took Victor Espinoza into custody.

Back on the street the next day, he returned home to an apartment, where last night neighbors say he jumped from a second story window, and in their words, began acting crazy--jumping on cars, causing a commotion, even trying to car jack a van at one point.

By the time police arrived, witnesses say Espinoza was lying in the street. When officers approached, they say he became combative, so they placed both handcuffs and leg cuffs, or leg irons, on him.

They then moved him to a neighboring lawn, and there, they say, he stopped struggling.

Lt. Cordona: "He started to vomit, so we put him on his side so he could expell the vomit. We asked paramedics to expedite because his condition was deteriorating."

Espinoza died before paramedics arrived.

We're told he, his wife and two children had been living in the apartment, but left after the alleged domestic violence incident Thursday night.

Some family was back in the apartment Saturday.

Police suspect Espinoza was on drugs. Neighbors say he had a long and violent history of heavy alcohol and drug use.

Because he died in police custody, an investigation by the District Attorney's office and the medical examiner will follow, to insure police acted appropriately.

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