Today (Tuesday afternoon, June 11), the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit released the identity of a man who died while being taken into custody by Fallbrook deputies on June 5 as well as the names of the officers involved.
“His name was Hugo Raymond Barragan, age 36, of Fallbrook,” said Lt. Glenn Giannantonio. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Homicide Unit are both investigating the circumstances relating to Barragan’s death.
“The deputies involved in this case are Gregory Buchnoff, Jeremy Banks, Justin Moore, and Yancey Mayordeleon,” said Giannantonio.
Giannantonio said the incident transpired when Barragan was noticed driving a vehicle with a flat tire in an “erratic” manner about 9:45 p.m. that day. As the deputy began following the car, he noticed the man commit several traffic code violations and tried to pull him over. Barragan allegedly stopped briefly, then drove off again.
Giannantonio said the deputy pursued Barragan until he crashed his car into a fence on Hillcrest Place.
Following the crash, he ran off and into a relative’s house in the 1500 block of Hillcrest Place. By this time three deputies were involved in the pursuit. Once Barragan was located inside the house, a fourth officer joined the effort in trying to subdue the suspect, which led to the deputies deploying the use of a taser and a canine. After being captured and handcuffed, Barragan suddenly stopped breathing and paramedics were called to the scene.
“Despite life-saving efforts by the paramedics, they were unable to revive [Barragan] and he was pronounced dead,” Giannantonio said.
According to relatives, Barragan had a history of drug problems and convictions, and had served time in prison, but they claim he wasn’t doing illegal drugs at the time of the incident. He was reportedly released from prison last fall.
Relatives have also said Barragan had been diagnosed while in prison with bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was prescribed medication for those. (It has not been possible to confirm this information yet). There are also claims by the family that Barragan was fatally injured by the deputies during the arrest process.
Whether or not the man had any substances (legal or illegal) in his system at the time of the incident or not, or sustained other injuries while being taken into custody, will be determined by the San Diego County Medical Examiner.
Lt. Todd Richardson, commander of the Fallbrook Sheriff’s substation said officials hope to have full toxicology findings within 14 days.
“It is being handled like an officer-involved shooting, although it wasn’t a shooting; it was because it was a death that occurred while the man was in custody,” said Richardson. “Authorities want to make sure all findings are 100 percent factual before releasing any more information.”
Today Giannantonio said the physical autopsy had been completed, but the toxicology tests were not back yet.
“No cause of death will be determined until those tests come back,” said Giannantonio, who said his unit will do a full case review and death investigation into the incident.
“We are the fact-finders,” he said. “It is our job to determine what occurred. Those findings are put together with the Medical Examiner’s results and ultimately the whole investigation will go through an internal review process.”
Giannantonio said all in-custody death investigation results go to the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB). “During the CLERB review, it is determined if any training or equipment issues need to be addressed or if anything could have been done in a better way to prevent this situation.”
According to Giannantonio, Deputy Buchnoff has served 16 years with the Sheriff’s Dept., Banks, 5 years; Moore, 4 years; and Mayordeleon, 5 years.
Richardson said the four officers involved voluntarily took a “couple of days” off work following the incident, but all are back on active duty.
Man dies in Fallbrook after being pursued by deputies who use taser and canine trying to take him into custody
FALLBROOK – An investigation is underway today in Fallbrook, where a man died shortly after being tasered by a Sheriff’s deputy and bitten by a Sheriff’s canine, authorities said.
The incident began about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, when a deputy on patrol saw a car with a flat tire being driven erratically, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Homicide Lt. Glenn Giannantonio.
The deputy followed the car and noted several traffic code violations being committed before attempting to pull the driver over, he said in a statement. The driver allegedly stopped briefly, then drove off.
Giannantonio said the deputy pursued the driver until the driver crashed his car into a fence on Hillcrest Place. Following the crash, the driver allegedly ran off and into a house in the 1500 block of Hillcrest Place.
Three deputies chased the driver into the house and tried to take him into custody, according to Giannantonio, who said the deputies used a taser and a canine while trying to subdue the suspect. The suspect was eventually taken into custody after a fourth deputy arrived and helped make the arrest.
Paramedics were called to evaluate the suspect because of the taser deployment and dog bite. At about the time paramedics arrived, the suspect stopped breathing, Giannantonio said.
”Despite the life-saving efforts by the paramedics, they were unable to revive the suspect and he was pronounced dead,” he said.
Authorities said the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the man’s identity after family notification has been made.