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Charleston police chief clears officers after suspect dies during arrest

GIUSEPPE SABELLA | Gazette-Mail photos
Chief Steve Cooper, of the Charleston Police Department, addresses reporters after a domestic violence suspect died during his arrest Tuesday afternoon.
Adam R. Myers shown in a 2016 mugshot. He faced a charge of domestic battery in that instance.
Senior Patrolman Erick Miller
Officer Job Ouma

A man unexpectedly died during his arrest on Tuesday afternoon, and the Charleston Police Department cleared both of the involved officers.

Officer Job Ouma and Senior Patrolman Erick Miller responded to a frantic call for help on Falls Run Road, where Adam Myers, 36, allegedly attacked his father.

Chief Steve Cooper said the officers found Walter Myers, 73, in a pool of his own blood Tuesday afternoon. Adam Myers allegedly beat and choked his father, who is an amputee.

“[Walter Myers] told officers that Adam Myers had tried to gouge his eyes out,” Cooper said. “There were some bad lacerations all around his eyes.”

The officers struggled to arrest Adam Myers as he locked both arms against his sides, Cooper said. Body cameras captured the entire incident.

He said the video shows police eventually handcuffing Adam Myers, who lost consciousness a short time later.

Both officers performed CPR until paramedics arrived, Cooper said.

The cause of Adam Myers’ death was unknown on Wednesday afternoon, and an autopsy had yet to be completed.

Cooper offered his condolences to the Myers family, and he called the officers heroic for their attempts to save the man.

“Clearly he was in a bad way, and unfortunately this happened,” Cooper said. “We wish the best to his family; we hope that Walter Myers recovers from his injuries quickly.”

Authorities had several encounters with Adam Myers in the past. Metro 911 of Kanawha County flagged him as a potential danger to law enforcement, Cooper said.

He said Adam Myers tried to disarm a sheriff’s deputy, and that paramedics treated him for an overdose last year.

Paramedics also responded to the family’s home on Falls Run Road the night before Adam Myers death. He had an “emotional outburst,” Cooper said.

Both the police department and the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s office reviewed video of Tuesday’s incident.

He said both agencies deemed the officers’ behavior appropriate. They were both referred to a counselor for support.

Ouma joined the department about one year ago, and Miller is a 12-year veteran of the force, Cooper said.

“Even leading up to Adam losing consciousness, the officers were speaking with him, asking him ‘Are you OK?’” Cooper said. “He was very lucid, and very clearly said, ‘Yes, I’m fine.’”

Reach Giuseppe Sabella at giuseppe.sabella@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5189 or follow @Gsabella on Twitter.

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