Suspect collapses, dies in police custody

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE JULY 13, 2015: Across the country in the past year there has been a lot of tension between communities and police, but in the Crescent East neighborhood in Tuscaloosa, the death of 35-year-old Anthony Ware had their community on edge.

On Friday around 9:15 p.m., Tuscaloosa Police said they received an anonymous call to their dispatch, “that Anthony Dewayne Ware was sitting on the front porch with of a residence at Crescent East Apartments, the caller stated he was armed with a gun,” said Assistant Chief of Tuscaloosa Police, Ronnie Dunn.

That’s when residents said four police cars entered the neighborhood without any sirens or flashing lights, and “upon seeing them, Ant ran,” said one resident.

Residents in the Crescent East neighborhood said Anthony Ware was running down the street, before he went through an apartment into the wooded area, police then ran after him, but 45 minutes to an hour later, residents said when police dragged Ware out of the woods, he was already dead.

“When he came out he was dead, his head was swollen, face was swollen,” said Martina Childs, a friend of Ware.

But police said Ware continued to resist arrest before being pepper sprayed, at which point they arrested him and while walking out he collapsed and they said they immediately began CPR.

“He wasn’t in handcuffs or anything, he was unresponsive, he was dead when he was dragged out of the woods, and it was at that time that they administered CPR,” said one resident.

“An autopsy has been requested with high priority, in an attempt to determine the cause of death as quickly as possible,” said Chief Dunn.

The gun that Ware allegedly had, police said they were not able to locate any weapon at the scene. The officers involved with the arrest have not been put on administrative leave as the death investigation is still ongoing.

A GoFundMe has been created to help with funeral expenses for Ware.

ORIGINAL: A death investigation is underway after a suspect died while being in police custody in Tuscaloosa.

On Friday night at 9:19 p.m., Tuscaloosa police responded to a call of a suspect with an active warrant for attempting to elude sitting on the front porch of a residence at the Crescent East Apartments. He did have a weapon. Officers arrived at the location in the 200 block of 49th Ave East where the suspect fled into some nearby woods.

Police chased the suspect into the woods who continued to resist arrest once officers caught up to him. The suspect was sprayed with Oleoresin Capsicum (pepper) spray but continued to fight with officers before being placed in handcuffs.

While walking out of the woods, the suspect collapsed, according to Sgt. Brent Blankley. Police began CPR on the suspect and called for medical personnel to respond on an emergency status. Medical personnel continued CPR on the suspect as he was transported to DCH Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 10:42 p.m. He has been identified as Anthony Dewayne Ware.

Ware’s death is being investigated by the Tuscaloosa County Homicide Unit made up of supervisors and non-Tuscaloosa Police Investigators.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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