A burly, incoherent 32-year-old man who rampaged through an upstate New York gym died after going into cardiac arrest when he was repeatedly shocked with stun guns during a struggle with three officers, police said Monday.
Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider said Chad Brothers of Troy had gone to the Gold's Gym in the Albany suburb just before 6 a.m. and was described by witnesses as "annoying" and in a "highly escalated mood."
"He was mumbling things," Heider said. "We're not too sure what the mumblings were."
Soon after arriving, Brothers fell off an elliptical machine, turned up the speed on another patron's treadmill and then punched him in the face. He started toppling 700-pound training machines and throwing 45-pound free weights around the gym filled with about 30 clients and staff.
"It was a rage, that's what it was described as," Heider said.
Brothers, who was a muscular 6-foot-1 and weighed between 225 and 240 pounds, went on to destroy a showcase and entered an office where he threw around equipment, including computers, the chief said.
That was when the first officer on the scene, a woman, confronted Brothers and told him to get on the ground and show his hands. At some point, Brothers threw some boxes at the officer and she knocked him down with a stun-gun jolt just before 6:30 a.m.
Heider said that while the officer was trying to cuff Brothers, he stood up with her on his back, was shocked again and then got hold of the Taser, apparently triggering another jolt himself. Two other officers jumped in and used their Tasers in stun mode at least twice and one of the officers hit Brothers with a plastic baton.
"This was a whirlwind of a battle in a confined area," Heider said. Two wired prongs fired from the first stun gun were embedded in Brothers' chest and thigh, while the other officers used the hand-held devices in "stun mode" directly against his body.
Brothers went into cardiac arrest shortly after he was subdued with the help of two or three patrons. An off-duty EMT performed CPR while an ambulance was called. Brothers died shortly after arriving at Albany Medical Center at about 7:15 a.m. Heider said information was still being downloaded from the stun guns to determine the precise number of shocks.
The patron who was punched was bruised and the two male officers had minor injuries. None of them required medical attention.
Asked if he believed steroid use might have been involved, Heider said it wasn't clear what was behind Brother's actions or what caused his death. An autopsy scheduled for Tuesday morning will include toxicology screens for steroids and other drugs. Police were getting a warrant Monday to search his apartment.
Heider said he believed his officers acted properly, but the use of force will be reviewed.
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