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Merced man dies after being taken into custody

Merced police said a 29-year-old man had a seizure and died while in their custody Thursday morning after he had fled from police on a bike.

Cmdr. Floyd Higdon said police aren’t releasing the man’s identity until his next-of-kin has been notified.

The incident happened around 1:45 a.m. after Merced Police Officer Eduardo Chavez, near West 6th and N Streets, saw a cyclist riding without any lights. He told the man to stop, but Higdon said the cyclist ignored the orders.

The man turned on N Street and abandoned his bike, entering a residential backyard. Chavez and Officer Gerald Bohanan spotted the man in the backyard, arrested him and placed him in handcuffs, Higdon said.

Police were walking with the man out of the backyard when he started having a seizure. The officers removed the handcuffs, placed the man on the ground and called an ambulance, Higdon said. The man was taken to Mercy Medical Center Merced and was pronounced dead at 2:50 a.m., Higdon said.

Higdon said police won’t know more about the death until results from the his autopsy and toxicology screening are available Toxicology results typically takes four to six weeks.

Police didn’t scuffle with the man or use a Taser during the incident, Higdon said. “He was not packing drugs that I am aware of,” Higdon said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call Detective Sergeant Scott Skinner at (209) 385-4702 or the department annonymous tip line at (209)385-4725.

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