The family of an attempted murder suspect who died after he reportedly resisted arrest and was repeatedly shocked with a stun gun has filed a complaint with the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Jeffrey Melvin, 27, who was hospitalized after an altercation with police April 26, died May 2, police said. He was found to have alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin in his system.
"We got to the hospital, my family, when we got there we were just stunned," his sister, Taneesha Melvin, told Gazette news partner KKTV. She said the family didn't find out he was hospitalized until several days after the incident. "The doctors were saying his nerves were damaged. A doctor said it could be consistent with tasing to his body." An autopsy is pending, but could take several weeks, police said.
Officers were called to The Remington Apartment Homes, 3341 E. Fountain Blvd., for a reported disturbance. When the arrived at 12:36 a.m., they passed Melvin walking out of the building.
Jordan Bruno, 26, answered the door while "concealing a bottle of alcohol behind his back," police said. He allowed the officers to come inside.
While officers were questioning other occupants, Melvin ran past an officer in the hallway into the apartment, shutting and locking the door from the inside, police said.
The officer inside the apartment reopened the door, allowing in the other officer, who told Melvin he was being detained and to put his hands behind his back. Melvin began "flailing around," police said, and continued to resist. Bruno and the two others in the apartment urged Melvin to comply with the officers, police said. Melvin reportedly tried to leap from the second-story window at least twice.
One of the officers used both stun gun cartridges on Melvin, to no effect, police said. The other officer sprayed Melvin with pepper spray, but it also was ineffective.
"They kept on tasing my friend," Bruno told KKTV. "Just to hear somebody screaming and hearing it again and again and again. I've heard shots before, but I've never seen somebody tased so many times in my life."
When Melvin tried to leave, the second officer also stunned him with both cartridges, police said. Melvin ran out of the apartment across Fountain Boulevard, where he eventually fell to his knees. The officers restrained him until more help arrived.
Melvin said he had asthma and complained of difficulty breathing, "so the officers allowed him to stay on the ground rather than placing him into a patrol car," police said.
Melvin was taken to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central by ambulance. He was cited for resisting/interfering with a public official, and the officers discovered he had a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder in a domestic violence case.
Melvin was sedated, intubated and admitted to the ICU, police said.
The incident is being investigated by the Police Department's Internal Affairs Section. The struggle between Melvin and the two officers who initially responded was captured on their body-worn cameras, police said. Several other officers who responded had their body-worn cameras activated.
Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198