Authorities ID man who died after struggle with transit cops at Santa Fe Depot

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SAN DIEGO — Authorities Thursday publicly identified a San Diego man who was stricken by an apparent medical emergency and died after getting into a scuffle with railroad security personnel on a train platform at Santa Fe Depot.

Angel Zapata Hernandez, 24, died at a hospital after being detained at the Kettner Boulevard train station early Tuesday evening, according to San Diego police.

The events that led to Hernandez’s arrest began about 6:15 p.m., when a Metropolitan Transit System code-compliance officer saw him “acting erratically” and decided he seemed to be intoxicated or otherwise impaired to the point that he “might walk in front of a trolley or train,” SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

When MTS employees attempted to detain Hernandez, he fled, running about 100 yards before stopping and surrendering. After being handcuffed, however, he began struggling with the officers, who tackled him and called for assistance from San Diego police, Dobbs said.

Upon their arrival, SDPD officers noticed that Hernandez appeared to “be in medical distress,” the lieutenant said. They called for paramedics and provided first-aid until relieved by San Diego Fire-Rescue Department personnel took over the unsuccessful lifesaving attempts.

Witnesses to the altercation told investigators they “did not see any use of force by the MTS employees, other than trying to hold (Hernandez) down on the ground as he kicked and screamed,” Dobbs said.

A ruling on Hernandez’s cause of death was on hold pending autopsy results.

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