A man, who Augusta police said had broken into a house, died Thursday after police used pepper spray to subdue him, according to an Arkansas State Police media release.
Augusta police requested that state police investigate the death of 38-year-old Quinton Laird, who died in a Searcy hospital after being pepper-sprayed during an arrest, the release said.
A resident at 601 Hough St. in Augusta called 911 sometime after 3 a.m. Thursday and reported a prowler near his home, according to the release. The resident later said Laird had kicked open a door and entered the residence, the release said.
Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said Laird was still inside the residence when officers arrived and removed him.
The resident accused Laird of "going to bed" in the house, but Sadler later clarified that he went "to a bed" in the residence.
According to the release, Laird began resisting officers while they attempted to handcuff him, and an officer pepper-sprayed him.
Laird then "eventually became unconscious," and officers attempted to revive him, the release said. An ambulance transported him to a Searcy hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:47 a.m.
Sadler said investigating agents were interviewing witnesses Thursday in part to discover why Laird was in the area and whether he knew the Hough Street resident.
Whether the use of pepper spray directly contributed to Laird's death is unclear. A 2003 study from the Department of Justice on the effectiveness and safety of pepper spray said two people died as a result of the chemical agent out of 63 custody deaths analyzed.
Most of the custody deaths in the study were attributed to other issues, such as disease or drug use. In the two cases where the use of pepper spray was considered a contributing factor in the death, the subjects had asthma.
Metro on 03/22/2019
Print Headline: Break-in suspect pepper-sprayed by Arkansas officers, dies