Inmate in Summit County Jail had ‘suicidal tendencies,’ officials say
August 26, 2013
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is looking into the death of a 33-year-old Leadville man who apparently went into cardiac arrest during a confrontation with deputies at the Summit County Jail July 9.
Zackary Dean Moffitt was taken off life support and died Saturday afternoon at a Denver-area hospital, where he was transported by air following the incident.
Authorities at the jail were reportedly trying to stop Moffitt from hurting himself when he appeared to suffer a heart attack and lose consciousness.
“He absolutely was being somewhat combative with deputies and they more or less were just trying to restrain him as he was attempting to do some harm to himself physically,” Undersheriff Derek Woodman said.
"He absolutely was being somewhat combative with deputies and they more or less were just trying to restrain him as he was attempting to do some harm to himself physically," Undersheriff Derek Woodman said. "There were some suicidal tendencies leading up to it and he was literally punching himself."
When he went into cardiac arrest, deputies and first responders from Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District and Summit County Ambulance Service began life saving measures. He was transported by air to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, but never regained consciousness.
Moffitt had reportedly been incarcerated since July 6 and had not had access to illegal drugs for several days.
Woodman said he did not think Moffitt had seen a doctor or taken any medications while in jail.
It is unclear if he had a pre-existing heart condition or related medical history.
He appeared to have died of natural causes, Summit County Coroner Tim Keeling stated in a release Saturday.
In response to emailed questions from the Summit Daily about the case, Keeling said the investigation is just getting started and he expects to know more in a few days.
An autopsy has been ordered.
Moffitt was in custody on an outstanding warrant out and for violating a protection order out of Lake County.
He was booked at the Summit County Jail after being admitted to the hospital for intoxication and then pulling out his IV and walking out of the emergency room, according to a report from the Summit County Sheriff's Office. When deputies contacted him he allegedly had a breath alcohol content of .392, three times the legal limit of .08 to operate a vehicle. He was also wearing an ankle bracelet on his right leg, which he reportedly told authorities was "for drinking," the report states.
Authorities declined to release a mug shot photo out of respect for Moffitt's family.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is assisting with the investigation.
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