PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — A mentally unstable man armed with a knife died Friday after a struggle with Pasadena police, who had deployed a Taser in an effort to restrain him.
Homicide detectives were sent to the 200 block of East Orange Grove Boulevard just after 2 a.m. on the report of a family disturbance inside the apartment building.
The man was identified by family and friends as Reginald Thomas, a 36-year-old father of eight children with a ninth on the way. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s department, which is assisting the Pasadena Police Department in the investigation.
The cause of death or the details of the incident were not disclosed.
His death angered neighbors, who gathered at the scene demanding more information as police and sheriff’s deputies conducted their investigation.
Shainie Lindsay, who told reporters at the scene that she had four children with the man, said he was the one who called police for help.
“He’s bipolar, he’s crazy, she said.
“They know he’s on Social Security. They know he’s 5150,” Lindsay said, referring to the official code for a psychiatric confinement. “It’s not the first run-in with him. He called the police on himself. He wanted help.”
She said he had been armed with a knife and a fire extinguisher, and the two officers who responded to the scene ordered him to drop the items and twice used a Taser on him.
He eventually dropped the fire extinguisher, she said, but then Thomas retreated into a room and slammed the door on the officers, who managed to pry their way inside.
“They was wrestling with him, was kicking him in the head and beating him with the baton stick,” Lindsay said. “Then, after that, they was doing CPR and he was dead.”
She told reporters she is six months pregnant with another child with Thomas.
Two of the officers were also injured in the scuffle. There were two other people in the apartment at the time, but there are no other reports of injuries.
Black Lives Matter activists gathered at the scene throughout the morning, with some shouting at officers and demanding information about what led to the man’s death.
KCAL9’s Amy Johnson reported from the scene where she said things were peaceful, until the Coroner arrived to take Thomas’ body away. Family and friends were having trouble believing he was dead.
His younger sister, Antoinette Dulaney, reiterated that it was Thomas who actually called the police for help.
“How does the victim who ends up calling for help end up murdered,” she said. “He was a great person.”
On Friday evening, police released the 911 call as well as surveillance video of their original confrontation with Thomas.
Also Friday, friends and family held a vigil and protest. They marched to City Hall demanding justice and answers.
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