IRWINDALE ( — A 44-year-old El Monte man who became unresponsive and then died after being handcuffed by police on Saturday for allegedly stealing an American flag and a flagpole in Irwindale was identified on Thursday as Oscar Ruiz.

Baldwin Park police officers on Saturday handcuffed Ruiz after responding to a call that Ruiz was lying on the sidewalk on the 12600 block of Ramona Boulevard.

When officers arrived, they were told by witnesses that Ruiz had been swinging a large American flag at cars and people in the area. Witnesses said the flag had been stolen from a nearby gas station, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Crystal Hernandez said.

Officers crossed the street to speak with Ruiz, who still had the flag pole and flag. Ruiz then tried to flee from the officers and a struggle ensued, Hernandez said.

Ruiz was handcuffed, at which point officers realized Ruiz was no longer responsive. Officers removed the handcuffs and attempted to render aid, Hernandez said.  Ruiz was then transported to a local hospital and was declared dead.

LA County Sheriff’s detectives are helping to investigate the “in-custody related death,” Hernandez said.

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