Mo. suspect swallows bag, dies in police car


Copyright 2006 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc. 

EAST ST. LOUIS A man police were hauling from a nightclub to the city jail two blocks away early Sunday died in the police cruiser, apparently from swallowing a small plastic bag containing a white, powdery substance.

St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said preliminary autopsy results on Monday indicate that Henry Armstrong, 27, of St. Louis died of asphyxiation after a plastic bag became lodged in his throat. Test results on the substance in the bag were not completed on Monday, but Stone said it appeared to be drugs.

East St. Louis police were called to Club Onyx, a nightclub at 239 Collinsville Avenue, at 6:42 a.m., where staff said an armed robbery had occurred, according to police. Armstrong and an unidentified man, also of St. Louis, were in the custody of the club's security staff when police arrived. Officers arrested the two men and put them into police cars.

On the way to the station, Armstrong died, according to police. The death was officially logged in the emergency room of Kenneth Hall Regional Hospital at 7:13 a.m.

Armstrong and the other man complained that nightclub staff had beaten them, police said.

East St. Louis police Chief James Mister said Monday that the case was under investigation. The man arrested with Armstrong was still in police custody as the investigation continued, Mister said.

He declined to release any other information. 
May 16, 2006

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