Tuscaloosa PD identifies man who died in custody

Tuscaloosa PD identifies man who died in custody

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - A suspect died after fleeing police in Tuscaloosa, according to a police report.

Police identified the deceased as 35-year-old Anthony Dewayne Ware. Authorities say Ware was not shot or tased, but sprayed with a pepper spray as he resisted arrest.

"We've used OC spray for many years.  You know everybody reacts different to that substance, but it's used across the United States in many different police departments.  And this is very uncommon for that substance to cause any kind of harm like that.  Normally it's a temporary effect," Sgt. Brent Blankley said.

Police are reviewing video of the altercation and say it will be released when it won't hurt the investigation.

Blankley says Tuscaloosa Police got a call at 9:19 p.m. Friday saying that a suspect wanted for attempting to elude police was at Crescent East Apartments. The caller told officials the suspect was armed with a gun.

Officers responded to the 200 block of 49th Avenue East where the suspect ran into the nearby woods. Officers chased Ware, but they say he resisted arrest. The officers sprayed Ware with pepper spray in an effort to subdue him.

Police handcuffed the suspect and as they were walking out of the woods the suspect collapsed. "While walking out of the woods, Mr. Ware started having trouble breathing and then collapsed.  Officers immediately called for rescue to respond and began CPR," Assistant Police Chief Ronnie Dunn said.

Ware was transported to DCH and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 10:42 pm.

Six officers were involved in Ware's arrest. None of them are on leave.

District Attorney Lyn Head is asking for any witnesses to Ware's arrest to come forward. She says Ware's brother was allowed to ride to the hospital with him.

The Tuscaloosa County Homicide Unit is investigating. Blankley of TPD says the Homicide team that will be doing the investigation is made up of supervisors and non-Tuscaloosa Police Investigators.

"You know we're trying to be as transparent as possible.  It's something we strive ourselves on and that we've done for many years." Blankly said. "You know we want to take the time to answer the questions how they need to be answered. And while there is a priority to get the information out to the public, we want to be accurate as possible doing so."

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