Defendant dies after suffering medical problems in court

A 29-year-old man in custody on a charge of attempted robbery died in a nearby hospital after suffering a medical problem in a Baltimore courtroom Wednesday, the state corrections department confirmed.

Medics took Ronnie A. Adams Jr. to Mercy Medical Center, where he died. An autopsy has been performed, according to the medical examiner's office, but investigators have not determined a cause of death.

Footage captured by courtroom cameras shows Adams sitting on the courtroom's front bench shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, awaiting a hearing as another case played out. He appeared to be talking to a woman sitting next to him.

Adams suddenly listed to his right, heaving and snorting for breath, the tape shows. Judge Gale E. Rasin told someone to call 911.

Corrections officers and sheriff's deputies performed first aid, putting Adams on the courtroom floor and undoing his handcuffs.

The tape shows that medics took Adams from the courtroom about 20 minutes after he began having problems. It is not clear exactly when Adams died, but a Fire Department spokesman said he was alive when he reached Mercy.

Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said internal affairs detectives will review Adams' death, following policy.

"It appears that our correctional staff did everything humanly possible to save the young man's life," Vernarelli said.

Adams' family members could not be immediately located.

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