A man arrested Monday by Kingsport police — accused of breaking items and acting erraticly on a stranger's patio, then resisting responding officers — has since died while being held in the city jail.
Kingsport Police Department Public Information Officer Tom Patton has declined to identify the man at this time, citing the pending notification of his next of kin. He was 39 years old.
A written statement provided to the media from KPD Chief David Quillin says the death is believed to be the result of an unknown medical condition.
At approximately 7 a.m. Monday, police were called to a disturbance at a residence on Allen Drive. Patton says they found a combative man "screaming and shouting statements that did not make any sense" and believed he was under the influence of an intoxicant.
Police say they spoke with the resident and multiple witnesses to the incident, all of whom said they didn't know the suspect. His outburst at the home allegedly included breaking items on the patio, tearing screens off windows and beating on the door while screaming.
Patton says officers arrested the individual for his own safety and the safety of the public. He allegedly resisted police, balling up his body to prevent officers from placing him inside a patrol car. He was eventually contained in the cruiser and transported to the Kingsport City Jail, charged with vandalism, disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting arrest.
At the jail, the man's aggressive behavior reportedly continued, delaying his processing into the facility. Patton says he was observed regularly for the next few hours with no significant change in his demeanor.
At approximately 5 a.m. Tuesday, jail personnel observed the man to be unresponsive. Patton reports that medical help was immediately called, but upon the arrival of the Kingsport Fire Department the individual was deceased.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will conduct an investigation into the death.
"There is absolutely no indication of foul play, as the prisoner was by himself," Chief Quillin stated in a press release. "The Kingsport Police Department contacted the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office to insure that an independent, complete, and transparent investigation was completed. An autopsy has been ordered in this case. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the family.”