Autopsy Pending To Determine Cause Of Death

MIDDLE ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A “violent and uncontrollable” resident of a Long Island group home for the developmentally disabled died after officers used a Taser on him during a struggle, a police official said Thursday.

Three officers were treated at a hospital and released following the Wednesday night encounter, Suffolk County Police Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said at a briefing.

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“He began striking the staff, running around the house, banging himself into walls,” said Fitzpatrick.

An autopsy is planned to determine what caused the death of the resident, Dainell Simmons, 29.

As 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported, police said a staffer in the group home called 911 when Simmons began going berserk.

The officers, two women and a man, initially were able to calm Simmons after they were summoned to the Maryhaven Center of Hope facility, a tidy, two-story house with brown shingles and black and white trim in suburban Middle Island.

But when they told Simmons they were taking him to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, he began kicking and punching them, Fitzpatrick said.

All three officers wrestled with the 240-pound Simmons on the floor while trying to handcuff him. Two of them used a Taser on the resident; he also was hit with pepper spray.

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Police said they are working to determine how many times Simmons was tased.

The officers were “put in a very difficult position,” said Fitzpatrick. It was not clear how many residents were in the house at the time.

Other officers arrived to assist them. Simmons later died at a hospital.

“Maryhaven Center of Hope extends their deepest sympathy to this family. As this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further,” the center said in a statement.

The state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, which regulates group homes, declined to comment.

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