Crime

2nd man dies during struggle with Tri-City officers

Stolen sedan towed after standoff in Prosser orchard

A tow truck hauls away a stolen sedan involved in a chase and standoff with police that ended in a rural Prosser orchard at the east end of Snipes Road.
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A tow truck hauls away a stolen sedan involved in a chase and standoff with police that ended in a rural Prosser orchard at the east end of Snipes Road.

A 56-year-old Grandview man died after a four-hour standoff ended when deputies used a Taser to shock him.

The standoff began after Washington State Patrol troopers tried to stop the man as he was speeding in a stolen car in Yakima County, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook. As officers chased him, they spotted a pistol in his hand.

Officers followed the man, whose name was not released, into Benton County at 6:40 p.m. He stopped in an orchard near Rothrock Road and Snipes Road north of Prosser.

Benton County deputies and the Tri-City Regional SWAT team negotiated with the driver, who was confrontational and suicidal, said the sheriff’s office post.

After nearly four hours, officers moved in and tried arresting the man. He fought them and officers used the Taser, said the post.

The man was in custody when he stopped breathing. Officers began CPR and rushed him to a nearby ambulance, where he died, they said.

Police reported finding pills, a meth pipe, other drug paraphernalia and a pistol in the car.

Officials said they were working Tuesday on notifying his family.

The Benton County Coroner’s Office is waiting for blood test results before determining why he died, Coroner Bill Leach said. They expect results back in two to four weeks after sending them to a private lab.

Taser scene
A 56-year-old Grandview man died after a four-hour standoff Monday night ended when a taser was used to subdue a suspect. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

The Tri-City Special Investigations Unit is investigating his death. The unit includes officers from different agencies looking independently into officer-involved deaths and injuries in Benton and Franklin counties.

Police pulled a Chevy Lumina with a broken window out of the orchard Tuesday morning.

This is the second death in a day of a suspect who fought with officers.

Jose Mercado, 48, of Texas, died in a struggle with police in Richland early Monday. Officers also tried to use a Taser to subdue Mercado but they said he removed the probes. Results of his autopsy also were inconclusive and tests were sent to a private lab.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.

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