Preliminary autopsy results show complications from an enlarged heart killed a man who died early Friday while fighting with four Baton Rouge police officers.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said final autopsy results for Derrick Dukes, 43, 1455 Roosevelt St., will depend on the outcome of toxicology tests, which should be ready in four to six weeks.
The results will help Clark determine whether Dukes’ heart complications were natural, induced by drugs or both, the coroner said.
Dukes died just before 1 a.m. Friday at an area hospital, a Baton Rouge police spokesman has said. Dukes was taken to the hospital after he stopped breathing during a fight with three police officers.
The fight began at midnight shortly after police were called to Dukes’ home in reference to a domestic dispute, Cpl. L’Jean McKneely has said.
When the officer arrived, he looked through a window and saw Dukes on top of his wife beating her, McKneely has said. The officer walked inside the unlocked home and confronted Dukes.
Dukes “took an aggressive stance,” prompting the officer to fire his stun gun at him, McKneely has said. Dukes was able to disengage the stun gun probes and lunged toward the officer, according to McKneely.
Dukes and the officer fought until another officer arrived, McKneely said. That officer fired his stun gun at Dukes, but Dukes, again, disengaged it. At that point, all three men began to fight, McKneely has said.
Two officers arrived and joined the struggle, which had landed Dukes on his stomach and on the ground, McKneely has said. While the officers were trying to handcuff Dukes they noticed he was not breathing.
The officers called Emergency Medical Services and began cardiopulmonary resusciation, he has said.
Dukes was taken to an area hospital where he later died.
McKneely said the officers searched Dukes home after the fight and found illegal drugs.
Dukes’ wife was not taken to a hospital, he added.
The officers involved in the fight were on administrative leave until Tuesday, when Chief Dewayne White decided to put them back to work, McKneely said Tuesday. The chief made based his decision on the preliminary autopsy report as well as information gathered during the ongoing internal investigation.
The names of the officers are: Sgt. Charles McDonald, Cpl. Jordan Lear, Cpl. Douglas Chutz, Officer Fred Thornton. All four work at the Police Department’s Second District.