A man suspected of assault was being arrested by Anaheim police Saturday morning when they got into an altercation that left two officers seriously injured while he went into full cardiac arrest.
Within minutes of the 37-year-old suspect being taken into custody, he started going into cardiac arrest and had to be given CPR, according to Daron Wyatt, a spokesman for the Anaheim Police Department.
The man being arrested was also suspected of battery, police said.
The episode happened following an altercation with two officers at apartments located in the 2200 block of West Broadway just after 8:30 a.m., according to police.
Officers were called about a resident who had allegedly assaulted an employee at the apartment complex and who appeared to be under the influence of narcotics, police said in a news release.
When two officers got to the scene, they tried arresting the suspect but got into a physical altercation with him while attempting to do so, Wyatt said. Struggling with the suspect, they called for emergency backup, he said.
Other officers arrived to the scene and the two who had initially responded were left seriously injured and had to be transported to UC Irvine Medical Center, according to Wyatt. He said their injuries are not life-threatening.
The suspect was eventually arrested, but just “a minute or two” after he was taken into custody, he started going into full cardiac arrest, Wyatt said. Police started trying to perform CPR as paramedics were called to the scene, he said.
A man who lives nearby, Gary Gray, said he walked out onto his balcony after hearing some commotion outside. He could see police and first responders surrounding a man receiving CPR, he said.
The whole ordeal went on for about 45 minutes and it looked as if the injured man “never responded” to the life-saving efforts, Gray said.
He described seeing the man being carried out on a “back board” and said he’s “pretty sure he was dead at that time.”
But in the hours after the incident, police have said the suspect was rushed to medical treatment and did not die. Still, little is known about his current condition, Wyatt said.
“He is alive and does have a heartbeat, but is prognosis is unknown,” he said.
What appeared to be an oxygen mask and a red emergency kit could be seen lying on the ground next to some tennis shoes in video of the scene, which was taped off as uniformed officers continued to investigate.
Since the incident left the suspect so seriously injured that CPR had to be performed, special investigators with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the police department’s Major Incident Review Team were also dispatched to the scene, according to Wyatt.
“An investigation is getting underway just as we speak,” Wyatt said.
No other details have been released by police.