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Man dies while being taken into custody in Santa Rosa

A man died early Wednesday as he was taken into custody at a northeast Santa Rosa apartment after two acquaintances told authorities he had been holding them prisoner, Santa Rosa police said.

The man became delusional and violent at the apartment off Montgomery Drive, according to a Southern California man who said he was one of two people held in the residence.

"He was in my face; he was all over the place. This guy made me a nervous wreck," said Paul Walters, 46, of Riverside County said.

The man appeared to suffer some kind of medical emergency after police confronted him at the apartment, police officials said. An autopsy is scheduled <NO1><NO>for today, said Sonoma County Sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary.

The Press Democrat is withholding the man's name because O'Leary said they had not yet been able to notify family members, who live outside the area.

Walters said he had just met the man Sunday when the pair joined a mutual acquaintance on a road trip from Palm Springs to Santa Rosa. He said they were helping drive a load of furniture to the apartment off Montgomery Drive in Santa Rosa.

The group apparently arrived in Santa Rosa Monday and were all staying at the first-floor unit at Shadow Creek apartments.

At about 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, the man returned to the apartment in a violent state, according to Walters. He said he suspects the man was on drugs.

"One minute he was throwing stuff at me, then he'd say, 'Dude, I'm sorry,'" Walters said.

The encounter continued into the night. Walters said the man, whom he described as bulky in stature, ordered him to take his clothes off and stood between him and the door.


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