OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The death of a 34-year-old man at an Oklahoma music festival after an altercation with security is being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the agency said Wednesday.
Patrick Murphy of Stroud was subdued by security personnel at the Backwoods Camping and Music Festival for exhibiting "erratic behavior," an OSBI statement said, and stopped breathing after he was placed in handcuffs. Murphy was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The OSBI also said Murphy's death is being investigated as a possible homicide, though the complete autopsy will be key. Amy Elliott with the state Medical Examiner's Office said the cause of death is unknown, pending a toxicology report.
"No one has been arrested or charged," OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said, acknowledging the members of the security company are considered "subjects of the investigation." ''We're not sure we have a crime here."
Murphy's father, 64-year-old Terrence Murphy of Stillwater, told The Associated Press he went to the concert with his son, who he said may have smoked marijuana, but was not one to start trouble.
"I don't care if he was on drugs, you don't kill a person and beat him up," Terrence Murphy said. "They claim my son was acting erratic. Everyone was acting erratic. That's the norm. If you weren't erratic, you'd be the weird one."
David Batton, an attorney for Norman, Oklahoma-based Event Security, LLC, said Murphy was naked and running toward the stage when guards subdued and handcuffed him. Batton also said he was told Murphy didn't stop breathing until he was in an ambulance.
"We don't know what happened to him, but I don't think it has anything to do with abuse or any bad acts on the security company's part," Batton said.
Festival organizers have said on the official Facebook page that the Norman-based security company won't return next year because of "several incidents which Backwoods had to relieve some security staff of duty due to inappropriate actions."
Members of the Austin, Texas-based electronic music duo Fyer said they pulled out of the festival after a security guard harassed and assaulted them and their crew for walking under a fence as they tried to leave Saturday.
"He had me in a headlock at some point and threw me down to the ground," tour manager Ricardo Romero said. He added he went to a hospital to have his arm stitched up after the security guard cut him while trying to remove a wristband.
Murphy's father said his son was a member of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations, worked as a tribal firefighter and was an aspiring stand-up comedian.
Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy
This story has been corrected to show it was a music festival, not an electronic dance music festival.