A bizarre officer-involved death in Whittier last weekend combined the worst of L.A. resident Jose Gutierrez' violent tasing and Playa Vista man Reggie Doucet's fatal LAPD shooting, both in the news this week.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that 34-year-old James Robert Hudson was tearing psychotically through the suburban streets of Whittier on Saturday, when a witness saw him run into the back of a car and fall into some ivy in the 13800 block of Philadelphia Street.
Officers found him like that, stark naked and bleeding from the head, unable to communicate. But as soon as they tried to roll him over:
“He jumped up and aggressed the officers,” L.A. County Sheriff's Lieutenant Mike Rosson told the Tribune.
So the Taser came out. Better than a gun, as was employed in Doucet's notorious LAPD case, but still deadly for Hudson, who was in extremely bad shape:
“The Taser worked properly,” dropping Hudson to the ground, Rosson said. Because he was kicking, both his hands and feet were cuffed.
As paramedics looked over Hudson at the scene, he began to show signs of physical distress, and officials rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, according to sheriff's and coroner's officials.
As Hudson's toxicology tests are still pending, it remains unclear whether he was merely suffering from a bout of mental illness or was under the influence of some drug.
The Sheriff's Department has since taken over the criminal investigation from the Whittier Police Department. However, the latter is still in charge of a probe into the officers' use of force.
More details that have emerged over the last week: Hudson lived nearby, had abandoned his clothes in the 6700 block of Hillside Lane and may have been knocking on neighbors' doors during his strange adventure.
Anyone with additional information is urged to contact sheriff's homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500.