Family questions police's role in man's death


POSTED: Thursday, November 05, 2009

Family members of a 45-year-old Waianae man are questioning what led to his death after he became involved in a struggle with police.

John F. Victorino died Monday at his apartment.

“;We're still trying to find out exactly what happened that night,”; said his niece, Lerin Victorino.

Police are investigating.

At 10:15 p.m. Monday, police responded to a call of a man who was armed and threatening people. Police said he was paranoid after he reportedly used “;street drugs.”;

Methamphetamine and marijuana were recovered from Victorino's apartment. He also had a history of hypertension but did not take his medication, police said.

Victorino's niece said she heard that her aunt called police because she was worried about her husband's erratic behavior. He wasn't threatening anybody, said the niece, adding that her uncle normally talks in a loud tone.

“;He would never harm anybody.”;

She was told by her aunt that police knocked down Victorino's bedroom door after he had just gotten out of the shower. Victorino had a screwdriver in his hand that he used to turn the water on and off because the tap handles are broken.

According to his niece, police used pepper spray to subdue Victorino. A struggle occurred when police tried to handcuff him. He then became unresponsive.

Officers tried cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used a defibrillator to try to revive him. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“;He was a good guy,”; said Lerin Victorino.

Along with his wife, he is survived by three daughters and a son.

The medical examiner's office had no immediate determination of the cause of death.