Man dies in Richland police struggle

A man died and multiple police officers were hurt after a call to intervene in a domestic violence incident in Richland led to a struggle late Sunday night.

The man was taken to an area hospital after the struggle, where he was pronounced dead, Richland police said. His name or age were not made public.

Benton County Coroner Bill Leach said an autopsy is planned Tuesday. He also didn’t identify the man, saying “we’re still trying to confirm and make sure all the information is correct.”

Officers were called to the 1300 block of Wilson Street at 11:52 p.m. A 911 caller reported that one man had assaulted another man and was throwing beer bottles at a home.

Officers arrived and tried to arrest the suspect, but he was uncooperative, said Richland Detective Sgt. Drew Florence. A struggle ensued and “multiple officers were required to take the male into custody,” Florence told the Herald.

Police Death investigation
Detectives with the multi-agency Special Investigations Unit, which handles officer-involved deaths in Benton and Franklin counties, conclude their investigation Monday morning on the 1300 block of Wilson Street in Richland. A man who fought with police late Sunday later died at a hospital, said Richland officials. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Medics took the man to the hospital, where he later was pronounced dead.

Some Richland officers suffered minor injures in the incident, Florence said.

He confirmed that no shots were fired, but declined to provide other details about the struggle — including whether a Taser was used — because of the investigation.

2nd death investigation this year

This is the second death investigation in Richland in a week.

Emilio Elizondo, 21, was gunned down early Jan. 14 in front of his Goethals Drive home. Police said it was not a random shooting, but have not made an arrest or named a suspect in the young father’s death.

In Sunday night’s incident, the Tri-City Special Investigations Unit, which looks into officer-involved deaths and injures in Benton and Franklin counties, is handling the investigation.

Police were searching a gray Ford Expedition parked in front of a home on Wilson Street. Crime scene tape had the street blocked off up to Thayer Drive.

Benton County property records show the three-bedroom home is owned by Andrew M. Clark, though it’s not clear what, if any, connection he has to the incident.

The SIU was involved in last June’s killing of a West Richland man, who was shot by a SWAT sniper following a three-hour standoff in which Doug Conner held his girlfriend hostage.

The team long-ago completed its report, but a final determination on whether the SWAT sniper’s actions were justified was delayed by toxicology results. Those tests, hung up in the Washington State Patrol crime lab’s backlog, were needed to finalize the autopsy on Conner.

Law enforcement and prosecutors have not announced if a final decision was ever made in that case.