DENVER (CBS4) – A man is dead after allegedly fighting with police officers at the Denver Zoo on Monday. Now Denver police are investigating whether the officers responded appropriately.

Officers said the man attacked and even bit an officer and zoo employee, and violently resisted arrest.

Officers said they tased the man using a stun gun that doesn’t cause a shock to the whole body, but rather pain only to the area where it is placed. After the man was tased police said he began having convulsions and stopped breathing. CPR was performed, but the man died.

As police sort through the bizarre chain of events leading up to the man’s death a woman who says she is his girlfriend and saw everything claims he was suffering from heat stroke. She told a local radio station her boyfriend was putting his head in a fountain to cool off when security showed up.

“That’s when he was like, ‘Okay, hit me, hit me, you want to fight?’ And that’s when I screamed to him, ‘Babe, you’ve got to stop if you love me, you have to stop right now,'” said the victim’s girlfriend, whose first name is Elena.

But it would escalate. Denver police say the man attacked and bit a zoo employee and when officers tried to arrest him he turned on them.

“This is a situation where you’ve got an individual who you can’t get to comply,” Sonny Jackson with Denver police said. “You can’t just let him walk off for fear he might injure somebody else. So you have to take whatever actions you can to stop the situation.”

“They were trying to grab him but he was so aggressive. There was like five zoo keeper securities and seven cops on top of him,” Elena said. “I didn’t see from behind but there was tasers going, snapping all around and I was just freaked out. That’s when he was like, ‘Baby, I’m dying, help me.’ And I couldn’t help him.”

Elena admitted he resisted arrest and even tried to grab an officer’s stun gun. But she insisted officers overreacted as well.

“We feel for the family, we’re very conscientious of that,” Jackson said. “We also feel for the officers, they don’t feel good about what happened last night; no one does.”

While Elena said her boyfriend wasn’t on drugs, police said they did find drugs and drug paraphernalia on him.

The family met with the chief of staff for Mayor Michael Hancock on Tuesday wanting more information. But until an autopsy comes back, the cause of death isn’t known.

Three Denver police officers and one zoo employee suffered injuries in the incident that required treatment at a hospital.

Comments (191)
  1. ananymous says:

    then again it says so that she was afraid because multiple tasers were going off…she said so herself. “I didn’t see from behind but there was tasers going, snapping all around and I was just freaked out. That’s when he was like, ‘Baby, I’m dying, help me.’ And I couldn’t help him.” doesn’t a person get frustrated when there are a load full of people on top. maybe the man was claustrophobic. IF the cops knew what they were doing y did they use multiple tazers? they are bound by law to only use one or two tasers because more can cause serious health problems. the taser delivers an 18-26 watt signal that overrides the nervous system….even if the man can fight through the shock he would HAVE to fall. since he was on the ground this is what must have caused the “resistance”. i by experience know that our survival instinct kicks in when we know that if this continues we will die. even if he was on drugs…how is it possible for a man to fight 12 other people? 7 officers. it normally takes around 4 officers to subdue a person on drugs. a bit more depending on weight. 5 if he is biting. my uncle is 220 pounds well built and he is currently serving time for aggravated assault. he resisted and they still took him down while he was on drugs. he was dropped by 6 officers. but if the cops knew that multiple tasers can cause harm y did they use them? and the guy said that he was dying. if the girl heard him, surely the cops must have heard it too.

  2. Albert L. Butler says:

    the reason he was erratic and/or violent is irreverent.. subduing an unarmed suspect should never result in death.. period. Biting is now punishable by death??? really??? Police overreacted and a person lost their life needlessly… This cant be acceptable in a free society.

  3. Missingyou says:

    If youwould like to make a donation his family has fund set up at Wells Fargo Bank In Loving Memory Of Alonzo Ashley the acct # 2248254308 Thank You!

    1. suckaman says:

      How do I know this $ will not go to buy more meth?

  4. MollysDad says:

    Note to self: when receiving the following fortune cookie at lunch, “It is better to die like the lion, then to live like the pu$$y .” It’s best not to take the fortune literally. I dunno you may want to reach for another fortune cookie at that point?

  5. Pittsburgh Vince says:

    I have only one question: How many “non-lethal” taser bursts does it take to kill someone?

  6. Marble60 says:

    My son-in-law (an army hero) just finished his court case with the Denver police in which they used excessive force. He chose to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault rather than face the felony assault charges they tried to hit him with and risk going to jail for something that was not his fault. He was not tased. He was snuck up on from behind by the police and batoned repeatedly on the head and back until they cracked his head open to the skull. When he defended himself, he was arrested and charged. His lawyer told him how the case would go, right down to the letter. The lawyer knew, because it’s how the Denver police operate. He said it is common practice for them and he had defended many people, including soldiers, in cases identical to my son-in-laws. And whaddaya know…he was exactly right. Raise the charge to a felony to scare the pants off them so they’ll plead out to a misdemeanor and be glad just to get the heck out of there. We have several acquaintances who are police officers throughout the United States and they all said the same thing….police officers are trained to NOT use their batons on the head and back because it constitutes deadly force. That is the ONLY place the Denver police used the baton on my son-in-law and we have the injury charts from the doctors and the pictures to prove it. Not only that, one of the officers had the nerve to lie on his statement and say his partner was hitting my son-in-law in the “knee” with the baton. Well guess what, he has NO injuries to his knees. Just 32 stitches in his head and bruises all over his back. He never raised a hand to them until they attacked him without warning. At no time did they tell him he was under arrest prior to jumping him. I’ve since researched all the excessive force cases that have occurred with Denver’s police force. It’s very frightening! I pity all who live there. Protect and defend? Somebody needs to retrain them. Thank God you have a task force looking into all these cases. I will pray for your city.

    1. suckaman says:

      I am not sure if he was in the right or wrong but I bet he wished he was tased !

  7. Terry Furlough says:

    ZOMBIE ATTACKS AT ZOO!!?? 12 people to get him down?? Look at the number of police cars in the photos.. over a “rowdy person” at the zoo?? BS.. 3 cops get bit.. one visitor… watch these people closely folks.. remember rule #2 DOUBLE TAP TO THE HEAD..

  8. Terry Furlough says:

    Blacks arent as prone to heat strokes as whitey..

  9. Drew says:

    Roy Halladay from the Phillies was pulled from a game Sunday night with heat exhaustion because he could barely throw a baseball 60 feet. Keep in mind this was a pro athlete and not some random every day Joe at the zoo. No word on whether he tried to fight the whole coaching staff when he got to the clubhouse, but after seeing the clips on TV I really doubt he had it in him.

  10. Chris Smith says:

    This has Zombie invasion written all over it.

  11. malibu says:

    How much Mountain Dew did he have?

  12. BG says:

    Thank God the police were able to stop him before he bit somebodies crotch off or something.

  13. SW says:

    Obama would say….

    The police acted “Stupidly”

  14. Concerned Citizen says:

    SO there were at least 7 cops on top of this guy and they could not get cuffs on him? This is a case of the cops going crazy. The family should sue.


  15. Steve says:

    I blame the zoo for being open. People are too stupid to realize that, when its hot outside, you need to drink water and stay cool. We need a nanny state, and we need it now!

  16. The Smoking Man says:

    If I had to choose between getting shot, getting clubbed, or getting tased…I choose the taser every day of the week. Though, my first choice is to actually be an accountable citizen & to not cause problems at family establishments like the zoo.

  17. LiberalSlayer says:

    Just another dead meth-head. Mess with the bull you get the horns!

  18. noah says:

    actually i just got the coroners report…he drowned in the fountain.

  19. Rick Aztlan says:

    Nobody should be passing judgement on the officers’ conduct until the toxicology report is submitted. The actions of the deceased were not consistent with heat stroke, but rather EXCITED DELIRIUM. One of the primary symptoms of ED is a feeling of intense heat in the head area. Many of these individuals seek water to lower their temperatures and frequently jump into bodies of water, or in domestic situations will run into showers and turn them on. ED is a reaction to cocaine use. Nobody can be sure of this situation until the blood toxicology is complete. So all you police haters, should get a grip. I doubt that you will be praising the cops if the deceased had ED.

  20. Bob says:

    This story is poorly reported that’s why you get all of these goofy posts. It ciould have been heat (highly unlikely if he put up a fight), it could have been drugs, a Taser is a brand name he was hit with a stun gun, two very different devices, something a repoter should know if they are going to use it in a story.

    For all the wantabee medics your not going to take on seven people and a stun gun when your going through heat stroke, you’ll drop first. Since Denever is a drug meca in the US these days (especially for meth), I’m going with a tweeker

  21. Harleyxx says:

    You know the cops planted the drugs on this guy in order to justify killing him. This happens all the time.

  22. Mr. Reality says:

    People acting crazy, victims being bit, people becoming dumber as we speak… I’ve seen this before. This is the beginning of the Zombie-pocalypse!!! Run for your lives!

  23. Dr. Ed says:

    As a medical professional, my gut reaction is that it is almost certainly drugs. It is extremely unlikely that he would be having a heat stroke in low 80 degree weather where he would be moving in and out of shade, access to water, and cool buildings.

    1. Doctor My Eye says:

      Are you sure your name isn’t Mr. Ed and you’re talking out of your “southern” side? A real doctor would not make a statement as you have not knowing the particluars. And if you were a doctor, which I doubt, you’d know behavior the victim showed is possible sue to heat stroke.

      1. Doctor My Eye says:

        “particulars”…typo corrected. Dang, the background on this site is atrocious.

  24. Truth Holder says:

    Whether there were drugs involved or not, this was probably an overreaction on the police’s part. The oblivious comment by the police officer about getting the individual to comply speaks volumes how the procedure followed did not fit the situation at hand, and everyone up the chain who excused those under them for following procedures in place should be reprimanded (at the very least) for allowing the procedures in place to let this happen.

    Note that the cop didn’t say the force used was justified by any direct and present danger posed by the individual, but was used because “you can’t just let him walk off”. There had to have been other ways to contain him than repeated simultaneous taserings, which was just overkill, until the EMTs arrived to sedate and restrain him.

  25. James Morris says:

    I find it fascinating how the news report states in the first paragraph that the officers are being investigated to determine if they acted appropriately. What unbelievable bias. This guy ends up sending four people to the hospital, and all they did to him was dry stun taze him. He died as a result but big whoopee. You can argue medical condition until you are blue in the face but homes was packing drugs and paraphernalia on him and if he was high that would have only made his situation worse, It was his own damn fault. Synopsis: Don’t go to the zoo high when it is really hot because then you will act like a fool and die after you send four people to the hospital.

    1. Spanky says:

      “I find it fascinating how the news report states in the first paragraph that the officers are being investigated to determine if they acted appropriately”

      UH, such investigations are common when there are deaths that occur when the police are involved. Would you want it otherwise?

      The odds are that the officers did nothing wrong and just followed procedure and training, but they still have to go through the investigation.

  26. Bob J says:

    “A man is dead after allegedly fighting with police officers at the Denver Zoo on Monday. Now Denver police are investigating whether the officers responded appropriately.” Isn’t it great that cops get to investigate one another in Denver? Reminds me of Congress investigating their own members who have done something questionable. They get away with all kinds of stuff because they protect one another. When cops are as popular as members of Congress — who have an under 10% approval rating — it won’t be good for anyone, especially the cops who consider themselves above the law.

  27. Bewildered? says:

    Are you serious! 7 cops and several security officers couldnt get 1 person on the ground and handcuffed ??This is pathetic police work period,more like an outrage!!

  28. bob o link says:

    Do what police tell you, don’t resist then you don’t die………… sad but avoidable by the victim

  29. SCM says:

    7 cops around an unarmed man, and they have to resort to tasers? What a bunch of pansies!

  30. LiberalSlayer says:

    His girlfriend said seven security guards and police could not subdue this drugged up psycho. They would have been justified in shooting him. They were just trying to use a lesser level of force than deadly force but he kept fighting so they can escalate.
    Personally I would have shot him between the eyes if he was biting my partner.

  31. MHSpaeth says:

    Why is there fifteen police cars there? Do we need that many police, plus the zoo security to detain one person. He may have been in the wrong , but talk about overkill.

  32. TheGman says:

    Either it was a medical issue or he was on drugs still the guy was biting people. That`s it with his teeth biting people, its not like hes gonna eat everyone`s flesh. From reading the article it seems like they shot multiple tasers at him, I don`t care what police say get enough of them in you and it will kill you medically everyone is different. It also blows my mind that police could not just tackle the guy and restrain him. One man could not hold down so many people and other people could just in to restrain him.

    I am even iffy on if he even had drugs on him or not. The police just killed a man for a matter that was not even that big. Its not like he had a gun and was holding people hostage. So maybe he did or not have drugs on him but it would not put it past me that police would just make that up to cover their butts.

    The man did not deserve to die, and police will get away with it with a slap on the wrist….

  33. Cj Rail says:

    Bite someone and fail to submit to the almighty police = death penalty. That’s about right in Amerika. It’s still unclear when the biting began. Was he simply erratic and then when confronted by police and zoo personnel that he resisted and began to bite. You people with a lack of understanding of physiology are ignorant.

    It’s nice to know that the police operate on fear. That’s very courageous. It’s like a high speed pursuit where the police can stand to deescalate by backing off. It’s the we have to do something mentality regardless of outcome.

  34. LiberalSlayer says:

    Drugged up crazy man bites people and then gets tased. Officers must use force to capture crazed druugie when he attempts to take a stun gun from an officer. What is the problem here? Oh, the 83 degree heat made him aggressive? Try the meth he was smoking made him a nut case. They should have shot him in the head.

  35. Oathkeeper Mike says:

    QUOTE: I’m sorry he is dead, but he put himself in this position.

    By going to the zoo???…

    …maybe we should all stay home if police are going to be out and about, ya think?

    1. suckaman says:

      No I suggest we let him bite you and transmit HIV or some other disease.

  36. John Roberts says:

    I’m delighted that this POS is dead. Gee…wonder how many other times he’s gotten violent with people. Heat stroke my butt….this guy was a freak who like to settle simple disagreements by bullying and with violence……finally he’s gone….

  37. keith says:

    and his family will sue and get millions!

  38. Donald Scott says:

    The police took an enormous risk to get close enough to Taser him.

    Couldn’t they have just shot him from a distance?

    I thank the police for taking the risks they do every day–and getting close enough to Taser someone when they should be shooting anyone who looks at them cross-eyed is going above and beyond, in my book.

    Signed, Donald Scott
    Los Angeles

  39. Hal says:

    My biggest problem with this whole scenario is ignoring the man’s health crisis and two that 7 people cannot handle a distress man?

    Why do police resort to “force” when dealing with a beligerent person?

    I thought police were trained to handle 1 person non-violently.

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