Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Suicidal man had taken meth, autopsy shows

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 2:17 PM

click to enlarge Police tactical unit took part in the standoff with Mendoza on July 28 and with sheriff's deputies decided to toss pepper spray into the vehicle. - CSPD 2012 ANNUAL REPORT
  • CSPD 2012 annual report
  • Police tactical unit took part in the standoff with Mendoza on July 28 and with sheriff's deputies decided to toss pepper spray into the vehicle.
The man who shot himself in the back of a Sheriff's Office patrol car as police attempted to negotiate with him tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine, according to toxicology reports accompanying the autopsy report.

Carlos Albert Mendoza, 36, shot himself in the upper right chest, perforating his right lung, diaphragm, aorta and vertebrae, the autopsy found.

The toxicology report showed he his blood contained 718 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine, or about .718 milligrams per liter, a level that could be fatal in some people, according to reports found online.

His blood contained 134 ng/ml of amphetamine, or .134 milligrams per liter, which is a low amount.

On July 28, Mendoza was arrested on drug charges and placed in the back of a patrol vehicle. He was able to get his cuffed hands in front of him, instead of behind, and "produced a handgun," according to a sheriff's statement.

The city's Tactical Enforcement Unit, also known as SWAT, tossed a tear gas canister into that vehicle on Powers Boulevard after a standoff with authorities lasting more than 4.5 hours.

But it wasn't tear gas after all, but rather pepper spray, both the Sheriff's Office and Springs Police Department say.

There's been no reason given for why SWAT officers tossed the canister into the vehicle, which was followed by Mendoza's shooting himself to death.

Someone recently raised the question of how that cruiser could possibly be placed back in service, given that tear gas lingers in fabric and other surfaces.

But as we said, it was pepper spray, which CSPD spokeswoman Lt. Catherine Buckley says is easily cleaned up with soap and water.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jackie Kirby tells us via email that a jail inmate cleaned up the car:

"The vehicle was cleaned by a trustee with cleaning supplies we had on hand and the vehicle was aired out for approximately three days, so there was no cost incurred for the cleaning of the vehicle," she says. "The material deployed was not tear gas; it was Pepper Spray, which is also known as OC spray (oleoresin capsicum). The trustee was given gloves and a facemask to wear. The cleaning of OC spray is considerably different than the cleaning of tear gas. The vehicle is back in service."

The incident remains under review by the Sheriff's Office's Critical Incident Management Team.

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