Police roundup: Cause of Benton County inmate's death not yet clear

By the Tri-City HeraldDecember 28, 2012 

The autopsy performed on a Benton County jail inmate who died eight days after being shocked by a Taser was inconclusive and more tests will have to be done to determine why he died, officials said.

Benton County Coroner John Hansens told the Herald that nothing in the autopsy of Kevin T. Culp, 29, of Spokane, performed Wednesday by Dr. Carl Wigren, a forensic pathologist from Seattle, indicated that the Taser was the cause.

But he said he's reserving any ruling until seeing the results of a toxicology report and microscopic analysis of tissue samples.

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

Hansens said Culp had epilepsy that resulted in seizures that could have been a factor in the incident.

"What we're asking the forensic pathologist to do is take all of the information on the pre-existing medical condition and combine that with the information received from the jail and what actions took place there, and what kind of treatment he received at the hospital to get the cause of death," he said.

Test results are expected in six to eight weeks.

Culp had 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 it had no immediate visible 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, where he spent eight days before he died.

The Tri-City Special Investigative Unit is conducting 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.

Suspect in parking lot shooting identified

The suspect in Wednesday's shooting in the parking lot of a Pasco gas station has been identified by police as Fernando Jesus Loera, 21, of Pasco.

A police news release said he also is a registered sex offender and a known gang member.

Officers still are searching for Loera and the Chevy Silverado extended-cab truck he was driving. He is considered armed and dangerous.

Police ask to be called immediately at 545-3421 if Loera is spotted.

Information concerning the incident has been forwarded to the Franklin County Prosecutor for arrest warrants, according to the news release.

Moses Lake child dies on Christmas Day

A 17-month-old Moses Lake child died of unknown causes on Christmas Day, the Grant County Coroner's office reported.

Coroner Craig Morrison was called to 1309 Shaw Street in Moses Lake about 12:30 p.m. and found Xsavier Angel Ramirez-Perez dead at the scene.

An autopsy was performed Thursday to determine the cause of death but those results were not available for release late Thursday.

Victim of fatal shooting in Umatilla identified

Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said a man found dead Sunday along Highway 730 east of Umatilla was shot to death.

Authorities are investigating the killing of 32-year-old Luis Jaime Diaz of Umatilla.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service