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Man dies after struggling with deputies in San Marcos


4:52 p.m. OCT. 18 | Authorities released the name today of a Valley Center man who died last weekend following a struggle with deputies trying to arrest him for being disruptive and combative at a North County arts-and-crafts store.

Kristopher Michael Birtcher, 34, died at a hospital about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, less than an hour after getting into the violent confrontation with law enforcement personnel at the Hobby Lobby in the 500 block of Grand Avenue in San Marcos, according to sheriff’s officials.

Deputies responding to a report of a staggering, disoriented and seemingly intoxicated man at the business contacted Birtcher there about 3:45 p.m., Lt. Rich Williams said.

As the personnel spoke with him, Birtcher became defiant and aggressive, then tried to run off, Williams said. During an ensuing scuffle, one of the deputies zapped him with an electric stun gun. Despite the shock, Birtcher allegedly continued fighting and spitting at the deputies.

Believing that Birtcher might be suffering a drug overdose, the personnel injected him with naloxone, a medication that counteracts the effects of opioids.

They eventually managed to get Birtcher into custody, after which paramedics took him to a hospital. By the time the ambulance got there, Birtcher was in a state of dire medical distress. He died a short time later.

A cause-of-death ruling remained on hold this afternoon pending the results of postmortem toxicology tests, Williams said.

The sheriff’s personnel involved in the struggle with Birtcher have been identified as Deputies Drew Beatty, Adrian Carrillo, Roland Garza, Joseph Kodadek, John Robledo, Scott Rossall, Frank Stalzer and Scott Winter. All eight work out of the San Marcos Sheriff’s Station, the lieutenant said.


10:23 a.m. OCT. 15 | SAN MARCOS — Detectives today were investigating the death of a man who struggled with deputies at a Hobby Lobby in San Marcos.

Sheriff’s deputies responded at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at a Hobby Lobby at 553 Grand Ave. after a caller said a white adult male in the store was staggering, disoriented and was possibly under the influence of drugs, according to Lt. Rich Williams.

Deputies and a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) clinician contacted the man inside the store, and he became uncooperative and additional resources were requested, Williams said.

A struggle ensued after he resisted attempts to detain him, and he attempted to flee the scene.

Deputies used a Taser and the suspect was ultimately detained, Williams said.

The man continued to violently struggle with deputies and spat at them, Williams said. He was also given Naloxone to treat what deputies believed was a drug overdose.

The San Marcos Fire Department arrived and transported the suspect to the hospital. His condition deteriorated during transport and he arrived at the hospital in medical distress, Williams said.

He was pronounced dead at a local hospital emergency room at 4:30 p.m.

Detectives from the San Diego Sheriff’s Homicide Detail responded to the scene and are investigating.

The name of the suspect was not released pending positive identification and notification of next of kin by the Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause and manner of death will also be determined by the Medical Examiner.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321, or (858) 565-5200 after hours. To remain anonymous call (888) 580-8477.


Sarah Williams November 14, 2017 at 11:06 pm

This is absolutely horrible, I hate seeing stuff like this.

Ray Carney October 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

When deputies become nurses or doctors people die. Tasers are dangerous and should be banned
Numerous deaths caused by this device warrants investigations even Taser International has issued new guidelines for it’s use.

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