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Man who died in Santa Rosa police custody identified

A man who died while being taken into custody by Santa Rosa police after allegedly assaulting two acquaintances was identified Thursday as Christopher Eric Augustin, 37, of Palm Springs, Sonoma County sheriff's officials said.

Augustin appeared to be on drugs and experiencing a mental health crisis when officers were called to the east Santa Rosa apartment complex early Wednesday, Sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said.

The Santa Rosa officers told investigators the man appeared to suffer from a medical emergency after being handcuffed.

An autopsy performed Thursday found no sign of trauma on Augustin's body and a presumptive urinalysis exam revealed he may have ingested methamphetamine, O'Leary said.

Officers were called to the Shadow Creek apartments off Montgomery Drive at 2:54 a.m. Wednesday by an acquaintance of Augustin's who said he escaped after being assaulted and held against his will for several hours.

The caller, Paul Walters, 46, of Riverside County, described Augustin as being delusional and feared for the safety of the apartment's tenant, Homer Ramsey, 64, who remained inside.

Augustin and Walters had helped Ramsey, whose primary residence is also in Palm Springs, drive a load of furniture from Palm Springs to Santa Rosa, arriving in town Monday, according to Walters.

Officers arrived at the complex at 3:03 a.m. Augustin, who was naked in a rear bedroom, failed to obey the officers' commands and became combative, O'Leary said.

The officers wrestled Augustin onto a bed and handcuffed his hands behind his back. The man continued to kick the officers so they used a maximum restraint cord, which wraps around the waist and ankles, O'Leary said.

Moments later, Augustin went unconscious, he said.


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