Mentally ill homeless man taken off life support after California cops stop his heart with Taser
A mentally ill homeless man was removed from life support a week after he went into cardiac arrest during a confrontation with California police.
Vincent Valenzuela, who had previously worked as a landscaper, died Sunday afternoon, reported The Orange County Register.
Police used a Taser on the 32-year-old man during a July 2 confrontation near a 7-Eleven store in Anaheim, where police were called to investigate a report about a suspicious man.
Officers found Valenzuela outside the home, and they said he “used physical force to push” at least one police officer during the encounter.
Police used Taser stun guns to subdue Valenzuela, whose heart stopped beating.
Valenzuela’s family said he had no pre-existing medical conditions, and police have not confirmed whether they used Tasers during the encounter.
Officers attempted life-saving maneuvers on Valenzuela until paramedics arrived, but the man never regained consciousness.
“There was no brain activity,” said his ex-wife, Patricia Gonzalez. “We were just holding his body back. He was already gone.”
She said last week that Valenzuela, the father of her two children, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and did not always take his medication.
He had been unemployed and homeless recently, but she said Valenzuela was a caring father.
“I think he was off his medication,” Gonzalez said. “He just sort of drifts away when he’s in a depression.”
Police were wearing body cameras during the confrontation that led to Valenzuela’s death, and video recordings and other evidence have been turned over to prosecutors for investigation.
Valenzuela’s family was initially not allowed to see him in the hospital, since he was technically in custody for possession of narcotics paraphernalia, resisting arrest and resisting arrest using force.
But the police chief eventually made an exception out of compassion for the man’s family.