Officers ID’d in fatal arrest of home-invasion suspect

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SAN DIEGO — Authorities released the names Friday of three officers involved in the arrest of a man who died after allegedly breaking through a fence and entering a Point Loma-area home, where he fought with a resident and then got into a scuffle with responding police.

Buddie Thomas Nichols, 40, was pronounced dead at a hospital late Tuesday afternoon, about an hour after being arrested by officers Brian Kashouty, Scott Springer and Taylor Davoren, according to San Diego police. Kashouty, Springer and Davoren have been with the department for six, four and 1 1/2 years, respectively, Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

The events that led to Nichols’ death began about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, 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, Dobbs said. The couple who live in the home were upstairs at the time, and their 9- year-old daughter was asleep on the ground floor, the lieutenant said.

Hearing unusual sounds in his home, one of the residents went downstairs and confronted Nichols, Dobbs 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.”

Believing 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 hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 5 p.m. A ruling on Nichols’ cause of death was awaiting an autopsy.

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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