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Police say no force used during in-custody death

Baltimore police said Monday that they did not use any force when they detained an attempted murder suspect who died in their custody over the weekend.

The man died more than an hour after a Saturday foot chase, and police say all signs point to a pre-existing medical condition such as asthma or another ailment contributing to his collapse.

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Baltimore police Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez on Monday provided more details into the death of Trayvon Scott, 30, who died after showing distress while in a holding cell at the Northern District police station.

The arrest of Scott took place at 2:37 p.m. Saturday, when a patrol officer in North Baltimore saw him in the 4700 block of York Road and recognized him as a man police wanted in connection with a June 2010 attempted homicide. As the officer approached, Scott began to run, police said.

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He ran into a wooded area, which police surrounded. Scott was hiding under a deck, Rodriguez said, but he gave up without any fight and officers took him into custody.

"There was no use of force," Rodriguez said.

At 3:23 p.m., officers noticed that Scott was having difficulty breathing in a holding cell, and police say he indicated he had a "pre-existing condition." Rodriguez said officers administered medical aid while they called for paramedics, who took Scott to a hospital. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 4:03 p.m., Rodriguez said.

The department's Force Investigation Unit detectives are investigating, but Rodriguez said witnesses at Scott's arrest have attested that police did not use force on Scott. An initial examination by the medical examiner has also indicated that a pre-existing medical condition is to blame, he said.

Rodriguez said asthma "could be an issue," while adding that no definitive cause of death will be available until an autopsy is performed. He also said there did not appear to be any delays between when officers saw Scott in distress and the time paramedics showed up.

The warrant for Scott's arrest was issued Feb. 11 after a witness identified him from a double-blind photographic array, according to the arrest warrant. On June 6, 2010, police said, Scott was walking southbound in the 4200 block of Old York Road when he approached a man named Marcus Davis.

Police said Scott pulled out a handgun and shot Davis, who fell in the middle of the street. Scott then stood over Davis and fired at least five times into his groin area, police said. Davis was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was initially listed in critical condition but survived.

It's not clear why police did not develop Scott as a suspect until this month, but officers moved quickly to find him once the warrant was issued.

"He was still out there, and we wanted to get him," Rodriguez said.

Twitter.com/justingeorge

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