Suspected drunken man dies following arrest in shopping center

SANTEE, Calif. —  A man arrested by San Diego County sheriff’s deputies in Santee on suspicion of public intoxication suffered a medical emergency inside a patrol car and later died at a hospital, authorities said.

The incident began at 2:50 p.m. Sunday at 120 Town Center Parkway, sheriff’s homicide Lt. Rich Williams said.

“A Santee patrol deputy observed a white male adult, believed to be in his early fifties, lying on the sidewalk behind a Walmart store,” Williams said. The deputy noticed the man had an open container of alcohol in his possession.

“The male was found to be so intoxicated he was unable to care for himself,” the lieutenant said.

The man was taken into custody without incident and placed in the back seat of a patrol car, he said.

“Moments later, deputies noticed the male’s breathing was labored, so they called for an ambulance,” Williams said. “The male soon stopped breathing and deputies began CPR, until medics arrived and took over.”

The man was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 5:11 p.m., Williams said. His name was not released pending notification of relatives.