OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma City man is dead after being pepper sprayed and tased by police.
The incident happened Sunday night along S.W. 59th St.
Police responded when a family member called 911, saying the alleged suspect was breaking things in his apartment.
“He broke all the glass and started fighting the cabinet, literally boxing it,” said family friend Leeann Mize who witnessed the incident.
“He was acting kind of weird,” said the suspect’s girlfriend Ruth Temple.
The strange behavior by Darrell Gatewood led Ruth to call 911.
“I wish I never called the police,” said Temple.
When officers arrived, they found the suspect, Darrell Gatewood, lying on some broken glass on the floor of the apartment.
Witnesses say that’s when police dragged the suspect outside into a puddle of water.
Officers used pepper spray and a taser, but still couldn’t handcuff the suspect.
“They kept saying you’re resisting and fighting. So they kept pulling the trigger on the taser over and over again,” said Mize. “They kept tasing him until his heart blew out.”
“This person was acting like something was wrong in his head,” said Oklahoma City police Capt. Paco Balderrama.
Investigators admit it’s too early to say if officers used proper force.
The case has not yet been ruled a homicide.
“In this case we don’t know what caused him to die,” said Balderrama.
On average there are 75 taser deployments by the Oklahoma City police department each year.
That totals roughly close to 1200 over the last 15 years.
Yet only 10 times has someone died during the use of taser.
Still, that’s no comfort for Gatewood’s family.
“They shouldn’t have tased him,” said Temple.
“It was too much. They did too much,” said Mize.
The officers involved in that incident have all been placed on paid leave while the case is investigated
The suspect does have a lengthy history of drug related crimes.
His family believes he was high on the drug called K-2 at the time of the incident.