Man Dies in Police Custody at Chula Vista Concert Venue

The man was arrested for alleged public intoxication and died while in the custody of Chula Vista Police Department officers, as he sat and slept in a chair at Sleep Train Amphitheatre

An unruly man attending a concert at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista died Wednesday night while in police custody, officials confirmed. 

According to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD), security officers at the concert venue told police the man began acting disruptively around 7:30 p.m. during the Dead & Company show. The man – described as heavy-set and in his late 50s – appeared to be intoxicated and was moving from seat to seat, the CVPD said.

Security officers asked to see the man’s concert ticket.

When he couldn’t show them his ticket, the officers escorted him toward the exit. The CVPD said that’s when the man tried to flee, leading to a brief struggle with security officers.

CVPD officers were also at the venue and were called to the scene of the struggle. According to investigators, the man was screaming incoherently and acting irrationally.

Police officers handcuffed the man and took his to a security office at the venue. Again, police said the man tried to run away and another brief struggle with authorities ensued.

He was detained once more and evaluated by medical personnel at the scene. The CVPD said that, at that point, the man did not show signs of any serious injuries.

The man was arrested for public intoxication. As CVPD officers completed paperwork on the suspect, he sat upright in a chair and fell asleep, snoring.

At 8:40 p.m., the CVPD said an officer noticed the man had stopped snoring. When the officer checked on the suspect, the man was unresponsive, police said.

Medical personnel were called to the office, but the man was pronounced dead at 9:15 p.m., the CVPD said.

Several law enforcement units are now investigating the deadly incident. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s (ME) office will conduct an examination to determine the man cause and manner of death. 

Meanwhile, per standard operating procedure in cases involving deaths that occur while a person is in police custody, the CVPD’s Crimes of Violence Unit is also investigating the case.

The CVPD said the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office was also notified of the man’s death, per protocol, and a DA investigator was called to the concert venue Wednesday night.

The CVPD said members of the department’s Professional Standards Unit are also conducting an independent investigation, per standard procedure.

On Thursday, CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber told NBC 7 the ME had completed the autopsy on the suspect. The man is 58 years old, Reber said, and his name will be released at a later time.

Reber said the investigation is ongoing, and police are also looking at surveillance video from the venue and footage recorded on body cameras worn by CVPD officers.

No further details were immediately released.

This is the second time Sleep Train Amphitheatre has made headlines this month.

In the early hours of July 16, two women were involved in a deadly crash as they headed home from the Chula Vista concert venue after a Dixie Chicks show. In that case, the driver was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol. Her passenger, Kendra Carpenter, 39, died in the suspected DUI crash.

The concert venue, owned and operated by Live Nation, is located in San Diego’s South Bay, about 16 miles south of downtown San Diego.

NBC 7 has reached out to Live Nation for comment on this case. We are awaiting a response.

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