Local man dies after struggle with police

By Marquel Sennet | msennet@ktalnews.tv, Stephanie Claytor

Published 05/04 2014 06:31PM

Updated 05/05 2014 12:44AM

Shreveport Police have identified a local man who died following a struggle with Shreveport Police officers Saturday evening.

Just after 6:00 p.m. on May 3, 2014, Shreveport Police patrol officers were called to the 1000 block of Highland Avenue concerning an indecent exposure. The caller reported an adult male was walking down the street shedding articles of his clothing, down to his underwear.

Officers located the subject who was later identified as 44 year old Jerome Christmas and made contact with him regarding his peculiar behavior. Christmas became physically combative towards the officers. After a struggle with the officers, Christmas was eventually taken into custody, after which time he became unresponsive. Christmas was treated at the scene by the Shreveport Fire Department and transported to a local hospital. It was learned that Christmas later died at the hospital Saturday evening. The four officers involved in the arrest have been placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with departmental policy as the investigation continues.

A statement has been issued by Caddo Parish Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma:

“On May 3, 2014 the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office responded to a death at the VA hospital. The decedent was reportedly exhibiting bizarre and combative behavior prior to suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest. The decedent suffered this arrest while being restrained by the Shreveport Police Department. The decedent was identified by fingerprints as Jerome Dexter Christmas, date of birth July 5, 1969. The family has identified him as Dexter Jevon Christmas with the same date of birth. The family will be supplying the coroners office with Mr. Christmas's military records to further delineate legal identity.

Upon examination of Mr. Christmas, he was found to be markedly febrile (his temperature was 102.8°F two hours after death). There was no external evidence of trauma identified. The decedent was sent to LSU pathology department for autopsy. Preliminary autopsy findings showed no evidence of significant trauma that would have contributed to Mr. Christmas's death. Toxicology results are pending.

The behavior that Mr. Christmas exhibited along with the clinical scenario and symptoms were consistent with a heatstroke and resultant cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to this diagnosis. Final autopsy results will be available in 3 to 4 weeks.”

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