WEST MELBOURNE, Florida – A 46-year-old man died during a physical altercation with law enforcement inside a West Melbourne Publix, police said.
The man has been identified as Donald Whitmer Jr. of Palm Bay.
The West Melbourne Police Department received a call from the Publix store about a man acting “erratically” at 10:40 a.m. Monday.
“I have a customer in the store who seems to be very confused. I don’t know if he’s on drugs or what,” one caller told 911 dispatchers. “He’s been in the store for about 35 or 40 minutes. He’s questioning things but can’t come up with a coherent question.”
When they asked the man to leave the store, he walked out, but then returned again, police say.
Officers said the man was uncooperative and a physical altercation ensued.
Witnesses say police deployed a Taser as the man went to the ground. An officer then tells the man to relax during the scuffle.
The man then lost consciousness. Officers then began CPR. He was transported to a local hospital where he died.
It’s unknown if the man was on medication or had a medical condition.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the man’s death. The two West Melbourne police officers have been placed on leave.
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