Police say the 44-year-old man fought and argued with employees in the Intercity Transit building before he suddenly started spitting blood and died.
The man who died Monday in Olympia Police Department custody has been identified, according to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office.
Coroner Gary Warnock said the 44-year-old has been identified, but his name won’t be released until his family has been contacted. His autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
The man died Monday afternoon after police responded to a report about 2:30 p.m. of an altercation at the Olympia Transit Center. Olympia police Lt. Paul Lower said officers didn’t use guns, batons or stun guns on the man.
The incident was captured on video surveillance from the transit center.
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Lower said the man entered a secure part of the Intercity Transit building by following an employee through the door. Witnesses said they believed the man was upset about not having enough money to ride the bus.
When the man entered the office space, he began kicking and throwing objects, Lower said. He bit a male employee in the arm, puncturing his skin through a jacket and a long-sleeved shirt.
Three or four employees restrained the man, and he calmed down for a few minutes. When the employees released him, he took a drink from a juice bottle he had been carrying, then punched a female employee in the face, Lower said.
The man lunged at the female employee again, and a group of employees restrained him.
Medics were called to the scene to treat the two injured employees, who were taken to the hospital.
When officers arrived, they placed the man in handcuffs and escorted him out of the building. The man became agitated again and began kicking and spitting blood, according to police. As officers tried to calm him, a sergeant noticed that his hands were pale, and asked medics to examine him. They didn’t find any signs of physical distress.
A few minutes later, the sergeant asked medics for another evaluation. The man wasn’t breathing, and died at the scene despite lifesaving efforts, according to police.
Intercity Transit Manager Ann Freeman-Manzanares said the two injured employees — a security guard and a customer service representative — were released from the hospital and are expected to make a full recovery. A counselor was at the transit center on Tuesday to talk to employees. The two injured employees stopped by, too, even though they weren’t working.
The incident is being investigated by the Thurston County Critical Incident Team, led by the Lacey Police Department.
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has cellphone footage of it is asked to call Lacey police at 360-459-4333.