DECATUR, Ala. – An Alabama shoplifting suspect who was in police custody following his arrest at a Wal-Mart store died during a two-hour wait in a hospital emergency room, police said Monday.
Decatur police spokesman Lt. John Crouch said Justin Lee Dunn, 26, died in the early morning hours at Decatur Morgan Hospital on April 10.
An officer took Dunn to the hospital from jail following his arrest at a Wal-Mart store, where workers found him vomiting in a bathroom, Crouch said. The Decatur Daily (http://bit.ly/1VdJWJu) reported that the man told officers he had been inhaling compressed air, and his condition didn't improve following his arrest.
The spokesman said medical workers sent the man to the waiting room after an initial screening, and he was unresponsive by the time a bed was available. Efforts to resuscitate the man failed.
Crouch said an officer was with Dunn the entire time at the hospital and the man initially seemed OK, moving around despite shackles on his leg. He was charged with public intoxication and shoplifting, according to Crouch.
"Eventually he appeared to settle down and go to sleep," said Crouch.
But Dunn didn't awake when a bed became available about two hours after he arrived at the hospital, Crouch said.
Decatur Morgan Hospital spokeswoman Leigh Hays declined comment on Dunn's time in the emergency room, citing a police investigation. The State Bureau of Investigation is reviewing the case at the request of Decatur police.
Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn said an autopsy would determine the cause of death.