Home-invasion suspect who died following difficult arrest ID’d

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SAN DIEGO — Authorities Thursday released the name of a man who passed out and died after allegedly entering a Point Loma-area home uninvited, getting into a fistfight with a resident and violently resisting officers as they took him into custody.

Buddie Thomas Nichols, 40, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Tuesday afternoon, about an hour after getting arrested, according to San Diego police.

The events that led to Nichols’ death began about 3:30 p.m., when he allegedly broke down a fence behind a house in the 2900 block of Hornet Way and entered the residence through an unlocked rear door, Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

A couple who lives in the home was upstairs at the time, and their 9- year-old daughter was asleep on the ground floor, Dobbs said.

Hearing unusual sounds in his home, one of the residents went downstairs and confronted Nichols, the lieutenant said. A fight broke out, during which the resident punched the intruder twice, knocking him unconscious.

The resident then kicked Nichols, who awoke, got up and ran outside, according to Dobbs. Nichols remained outside, however, loitering and behaving “strangely,” Dobbs said.

A short time later, a patrol officer arrived at the residence in response to a 911 call from one of the victims and tried to take Nichols into custody.

“The suspect resisted the officer’s attempts to handcuff him and began struggling until two more officers arrived to assist,” Dobbs said. “The officers used a combination of physical force and strikes to the arms to get the suspect handcuffed.”

Believed that Nichols was “demonstrating symptoms of excited delirium,” the patrol personnel called for paramedics.

As the ambulance crew was assessing the detainee’s condition, he lost consciousness. The medics then took him to a trauma center, where the unsuccessful lifesaving attempts continued until shortly before 5 p.m.

A ruling on Nichols’ cause of death remained on hold pending completion of postmortem examinations.

Though the reasons for the behavior of Nichols, an Indiana native, just prior to his death remain unknown, the resident who confronted him and other witnesses to the violent episode believed he was under the influence of some sort of drug, Dobbs said.

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