COLLIER COUNTY — The 26-year-old Golden Gate Estates man who died Sunday after a violent confrontation with Collier County sheriff’s deputies was struck at least twice by two deputies’ Tasers, according to an incident report released Tuesday.
However, the second Taser strike on Linel Lormeus “did not appear to have any effect,” the report said.
The incident report, as well as a transcript from a 911 call, also indicate that Lormeus had a knife, in addition to the dumbbell the Sheriff’s Office reported on Monday.
The Sheriff’s Office is conducting both a death investigation and a parallel administrative investigation into Lormeus’ death. He is at least the third person to die in Collier County after being struck by a Taser since 2004.
“Whenever there is an in-custody death, a thorough investigation is conducted,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Karie Partington said in an e-mail. “The results of that investigation will determine whether there were violations of policy and/or procedure.”
Deputies were called to Lormeus’ apartment complex, 4130 16th Place S.W., around 10:25 p.m. on Sunday to a report of an armed disturbance, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
Marti Guilbeau, 56, who described herself to the Daily News as Lormeus’ aunt, told deputies that Lormeus had physically threatened her and became disruptive inside their apartment. She told deputies that Lormeus had been treated for mental illness in Haiti, had been prescribed medication in Haiti but hadn’t taken it in over a year, and had been acting more irrational than usual lately, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
In transcripts of two 911 calls made from the scene, witnesses said Lormeus was running in and out of an apartment, brandishing several objects in his hands and acting violently. One caller said Lormeus had a knife. Another said he had a stick and a dumbbell.
“Alright so just tell (deputies) that be careful because he’s acting like really weird like, like trying to hit everybody and you know it’s not safe,” one caller told dispatchers.
Both callers described Lormeus as mentally ill or retarded, calling him “crazy” or “slow.”
One caller expressed concern for Guilbeau’s safety. The caller thought Lormeus was inside the apartment and was unsure of Guilbeau’s location.
“Yeah he’s inside the house but, but I don’t know where the mom is now that’s the thing so I don’t know if you wanna send someone,” the caller told the dispatcher.
Asked by a dispatcher if Lormeus is usually violent, the same caller said the behavior was atypical.
“No, no, he’s really calm, he’s really calm that’s the weird thing,” the caller said.
The incident report, written by a Cpl. John Knowlton, picks up after he arrived at the scene and found Lormeus standing in a bedroom closet. Three other deputies corporals — Alfred Rodriguez, Todd Sanner and Neil Gershman — were already on scene. Sanner, had already deployed his Taser and was ordering Lormeus to the ground.
Lormeus did not comply, standing in the back of the closet and yelling “Ahhh.”
Rodriguez then fired his Taser, “which did not appear to have any effect,” reports said. Lormeus continued to scream.
When Lormeus attempted to take a step back, reports say he slipped and fell on his rear. At that point, two deputies grabbed Lormeus, turned him on his stomach and began handcuffing him.
But reports say Lormeus continued to struggle, refusing to release his right arm from under his stomach.
Eventually, deputies noticed that Lormeus was unconscious and pulled him from the closet. He had no pulse and was not breathing, reports said. Deputies performed chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and used an automated external defibrillator to get his pulse back and get him breathing on his own.
Lormeus was transported to Physicians Regional Medical Center — Pine Ridge, where he was pronounced dead in an emergency room.
Sanner and Rodriguez are still working, Partington reported, although Rodriguez is on light duty at the recommendation of a physician because he injured his knee while trying to subdue Lormeus.
Tasers are electronic devices that compressed nitrogen to propel two small probes at a person. The probes are connected by an insulated wire. When the probes contact the person, a 50,000-volt electrical shock is delivered, and for five seconds the person loses neuromuscular control.
In 2004, 19-year-old Christopher Hernandez died after a late-night scuffle with five Collier deputies led to him being shot at least 17 times with Tasers. The deputies were cleared of any wrongdoing after a State Attorney’s Office probe showed that Hernandez had died from a combination of cocaine, marijuana and Ecstasy.
Three years later, 24-year-old Muszack Nazaire of Immokalee died of accidental drowning after deputies used a Taser on him after he ran from a car chase into a Golden Gate canal. The deputy who fired the Taser was again exonerated of any wrongdoing after the District 20 Medical Examiner found that Nazaire was also suffering from acute cocaine intoxication, severe asthma and intense physical exertion.