Maryland State Police investigate death of man in Ocean City police custody

Maryland State Police are investigating the Tuesday death of a man in Ocean City police custody whom they believe had a medical emergency.

The man was identified as Byron K. Tunnell, 28, of Ocean City. Police said he was driving on Baltimore Avenue near 20th Street in Ocean City around 11 p.m. Monday when he was pulled over for an alleged traffic violation.

Police said Tunnell did not immediately stop. When he did, he told police he knew his license was suspended and he wanted to get his car back to his house.

Police attempted to arrest Tunnell and said he resisted arrest. An officer used a Taser on Tunnell and he ran away and hid under a porch where police later found crack cocaine and a glass smoking device, police said.

Police were able to get Tunnell into custody and called medics to the scene, which they said is protocol after using a Taser. Police said the medics determined he was fine, but Tunnell asked to go to the hospital and was taken there.

Tunnell was evaluated at Atlantic General Hospital and released around 1 a.m. Tuesday. He was placed in a police transport van that had an audio and video system installed.

Police said Tunnell told the police transport he was “not feeling well, but was okay” and indicated he may have swallowed drugs before he was arrested.

Tunnell appeared to have a seizure minutes later and medics were called and the van stopped, police said. Officers attempted to perform CPR on Tunnell before medics arrived. He was pronounced dead at Atlantic General Hospital.

Maryland State Police homicide investigators are investigating the death at the request of the Ocean City police department. The Ocean City police department could not be reached for comment.

Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman, said the Ocean City officers did not have body cameras, but that investigators were reviewing video footage from the police transport van.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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