Man Tasered Twice Dies, Drugs Likely Involved

By Allison Sullivan

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By Adam Carros

CORALVILLE, Iowa -- The Johnson County Attorney's office said officials are investigating the death of a man who Coralville Police twice deployed a stun gun on, on Monday afternoon.

According to a new release from Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness, the man was identified as Thomas Martinez, Jr. of Apache Junction, Ariz. Police used the stun gun after Martinez became violent and hit an officer, the release said.

He died on Tuesday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, officials said.

Authorities said on Monday an employee from an unspecified business in the 2400 block of Second Street in Coralville called 911 at 3:45 p.m. about a man acting violently and destroying the business' property.

Employees were concerned of the man's behavior and removed sharp utensils into more secure locations, in case he might attempt to use them to harm people, officials said.

Officers were able to calm Martinez somewhat but noticed he was sweating heavily, appeared to have "mini-seizures", had dilated eyes and was speaking incoherently, Johnson County officials said.

Authorities say officers believed Martinez, who was identified by a driver's license, was experiencing medical problems and they requested the Johnson County Ambulance Service. When the ambulance staff tried to speak with Martinez he once again became violent and lashed out and hit an officer, according to the news release.

Officials said Martinez remained violent after the first use of a tasered but calmed down after the second taser. As Martinez was loaded onto a stretcher when he stopped breathing and only began again after CPR and medication and was then taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, according to the release.

The Johnson County attorney said Martinez died on Tuesday evening at UIHC. Reports said Martinez may have taken multiple drugs before entering the Coralville business on Monday, the release said.

The Johnson County attorney and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating the incident and an autopsy is being administered by a Deputy State Medical Examiner to determine the cause of Martinez's death, the release said.
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