A man who was arrested for attempted larceny in Washington Heights died in police custody after suffering an apparent asthma attack last night. The 52-year-old suspect, whose name hasn't been released yet, was allegedly caught breaking into a car; he fled into Tommy’s Grill, near the corner of West 158th and Broadway where police caught up with him. As he was being arrested, he told officers he was having difficulty breathing and said he had an asthma inhaler in his pocket.
Police say they uncuffed the man so he could use the inhaler, and also brought him a glass of water. It's unclear whether that was too little too late, but an officer felt compelled to call for an ambulance. A cook at Tommy's Grill told DNAInfo he witnessed the incident, and saw the man collapse after he was apprehended, but he could not say whether it happened before or after his handcuffs were removed.
''They laid him on the floor and took him away in a stretcher,'' the witness said. "It's sad, very sad for him." The suspect was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.