Investigation Continues into Death of Man Following Struggle with Police and Medics

Corpus Christi Police Department Homicide Detectives are continuing their investigation into the death of a 48 year-old man who died following a struggle with police officers and medics early Sunday morning at a home in the 1700 block of Morales Street.  On Sunday February 12th at about 2:14 AM, the Corpus Christi Police Department and the Corpus Christi Fire Department were called to the home to assist a man who was reportedly having difficulty breathing.  The responding public safety personnel discovered a 48-year-old man displaying obvious signs of medical distress. Before he could be treated, the man began struggling with the medics.  Officers assisted the medics by restraining the man and placing him in handcuffs.  Officers did not deploy their Tasers nor utilize pepper spray to subdue the man. After being handcuffed, the man suddenly quit breathing.  Officers immediately removed the handcuffs so the medics could begin CPR.  Medics then rushed the man by ambulance to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Homicide Detectives are continuing to interview witnesses to the incident, including family members and the emergency personnel who responded to the scene.  The Nueces County Medical Examiner’s Office has completed an autopsy on the man, but the final report has not yet been released pending the results of certain tests.  Two of the responding Officers have been placed on Administrative Leave, which is standard Police Department procedure in all such instances. They are Senior Officer Mike Wertanen, a 22 year veteran of the Police Department, and Officer Brandon Cordell, who has four years with CCPD.  The Officers will remain on leave pending the outcome of a thorough investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division.  Once the investigation is completed it will be submitted to the District Attorneys Office and presented to the Grand Jury, which is standard procedure in all in-custody deaths.