ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) — The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office released a report Friday on the 2021 in-custody death of 33-year-old Arturo Gomez in Antioch. Prosecutors concluded that Antioch Police Department officers who physically restrained Gomez committed no wrongdoing and will not face charges.

The report was publicly released as part of a county protocol for incidents when civilians are shot or die during an encounter with law enforcement. The District Attorney’s Office conducts its own independent investigation into law enforcement fatal incidents.

On February 24, 2021, the incident began after midnight when Gomez called 911 to report that his phone had been hacked.

“A dispatcher noted that Gomez sounded paranoid and appeared to be in an argument with another person – whom authorities later learned was a Lyft driver. Gomez was traveling in (a) Lyft vehicle. The Lyft driver said he became fearful Gomez was going to physically harm him
and exited the vehicle,” prosecutors wrote in the report.

Gomez then climbed into the driver’s seat, attempted to drive off, and was stopped when the Lyft driver retrieved the ignition key, according to the report. Gomez fled on foot.

When Antioch Police Department officers arrived on the scene at Lone Tree Way at Ridgerock Drive, Gomez backed away and said, “You’re a fake cop.”

Gomez then led the officers on a foot chase where he eventually ran into traffic on
Lone Tree Way, investigators said. He was almost hit by several vehicles. Gomez tripped and fell to the ground on James Donlon Boulevard.

One officer ordered him to stay on the ground, but Gomez ignored the command, according to the report.

“Officers then tried to physically subdue him, but Gomez continued to struggle and a physical altercation ensued. After multiple Taser deployments on Gomez, the officers were eventually able to handcuff him. At no point did any of the officers involved use the weight of their body on Gomez’s back or neck, nor did they use a carotid restraint on him,” the report states.

Within 30 seconds of being handcuffed, Gomez stopped moving, struggled to breath, and became “unresponsive,” the report states.

Police officers began administering CPR. Gomez died later at a local hospital.

An autopsy to determine the cause of Gomez’s death was performed by Dr. Arnold Josselson.

“Dr. Josselson found Gomez had 910 nanograms of methamphetamine and 54
nanograms of amphetamine in his blood — substances which, when taken in large doses, can
lead to convulsions, circulatory collapse, hallucinations, and cardiac arrest,” the report states.

Dr. Josselson concluded that Gomez died from “asphyxia and cardiac arrest while in a prone position during a struggle with police after being tased while under the influence of methamphetamine,” according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The officers involved in the fatal incident were identified as Officer Matthew Mulholland, Officer Brenden Lassas, Officer Darryl Saffold, Officer Joe Magana, and Officer Nicholas Shipilov.

Dr. Josselson explained a three-step process that led to Gomez’s death.

The first stage was brought on by the amount of methamphetamine in his system; an amount that gave rise to aggressive and physically active behavior when resisting police arrest, according to the report. In the second stage, Gomez’s muscles were exhausted and lacked the ability to expand his rib cage allowing him to breathe. The third stage was brought about by low oxygen levels that led to his heart stopping, according to the report.

Prosecutors wrote, “The District Attorney’s Office concluded that, given the totality of facts in
this incident, the use of force by Antioch Police Officers was lawful. The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office will take no further action regarding the in-custody death of Arturo Gomez.”