Inmate shocked with Taser dies at Richland hospital

By Michelle Dupler and Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldDecember 27, 2012 

A Spokane man who was hospitalized after being shocked with a Taser at the Benton County jail has died, officials said.

Kevin T. Culp, 29, died Tuesday after spending more than a week at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

Culp was in the jail as a contract inmate for the state Department of Corrections, and reportedly had a medical condition that prompted jail officials to house him in a medical isolation cell so that nurses could watch him.

He has two felony convictions for manslaughter from Idaho and was under community supervision in Idaho, jail Cmdr. Jon Law told the Herald last week.

The state Department of Corrections was doing a courtesy hold for Idaho. He was booked into the Benton County jail at the justice center in Kennewick on Dec. 14.

The morning of Dec. 17, he had a medical problem and called nurses for help, but then became combative when two nurses and a corrections officer tried to care for him.

Culp was shocked with a Taser and restrained after the Taser seemed to have little effect.

About 15 minutes after he was moved to another isolation cell where he could get closer observation, staff discovered that he was unresponsive and called paramedics.

He then was admitted to Kadlec.

Benton County Coroner John Hansens told the Herald that an autopsy was conducted Wednesday afternoon, and he expected to have more information about the cause of Culp's death today.

The Tri-City Special Investigative Unit was asked to conduct an independent investigation of the incident. The unit is a multi-jurisdictional group of detectives and administrators from various Tri-City law enforcement agencies and designed to perform external investigations of shootings involving police officers or other types of serious incidents involving police agencies.

Benton County Sheriff Steve Keane said the investigation is ongoing, and he hasn't received any new information since Culp was hospitalized, but that he hopes to have more information today.

"It's going to take awhile," he said.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543;

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