A man died Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis police custody after complaining of breathing problems. Terrell Day, an 18-year-old resident of the city, died in the back of an ambulance, and a full internal investigation is now taking place.
According to the police report, a loss prevention officer confronted Day under suspicion of shoplifting around 1 p.m. inside a Burlington Coat Factory, whereupon the latter pointed a handgun and ran away. Officers found Day in the grass behind a gas station, where he surrendered to them, the report stated. Officers called an ambulance after Day said he was having trouble breathing, and the responding EMS crew deemed him fit to go to the processing center via jail wagon; however when the wagon arrived, Day again said that he was experiencing breathing problems, according to the police report. After a second ambulance was called, his condition worsened, and the EMS crew was unable to save him, the report stated.
Several deaths while in police custody have been reported in recent months. In July, a 29-year-old woman charged with public intoxication died on the way to a Houston police station. In this instance, the woman was also cleared by health professionals. That same week, a 32-year-old man held by the same police department also died. In the same month, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was declared in a preliminary autopsy report to have died in jail from suicide by hanging. Bland had told officials who processed her arrest that she had previously attempted suicide.
"The Indianapolis EMS family would like to extend our sincere condolences," IEMS Chief Charles Miramonti said in the police report. "We have already launched a full internal investigation and at this time are confident the highest level of response and care was provided." Homicide detectives and the IMPD Crime Lab have conducted interviews and processed the scene, but the final cause of death will be determined by the Marion County Coroner’s Office.