A man who died after being shocked with a Taser by a sheriff’s deputy in North Idaho in May suffered a heart attack, officials said Friday.
Daniel L. Mittelstadt, 56, of Mount Shasta, Calif., had a pre-existing heart condition and a long history of mental health issues when Boundary County sheriff’s Cpl. Clint Randall responded to a report of a naked man blocking a road with his car about 1 a.m. on May 16.
Mittelstadt was wearing a jacket and was described by Randall as “uncooperative and irrational.”
He fought with Randall, and Randall shocked him with a Taser before handcuffing him. But he immediately released Mittelstadt from handcuffs after noticing the man was having difficulty breathing. Randall performed CPR, but Mittelstadt was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Rich Stevens, Boundary County deputy sheriff, said Friday that Randall did not know of Mittelstadt’s condition – atherosclerotic coronary artery disease – during the encounter.
“He had a guy that was fighting him – that’s all the information he had at that time,” Stevens said.
The Idaho State Police investigated the death, and the Boundary County prosecutor’s office determined no criminal charges were warranted against Randall.
“The cause of death was determined to be heart attack, not directly caused by the incident,” according to a news release, though authorities say Mittelstadt suffered the heart attack after the Taser was deployed. Boundary County Prosecutor Jack Douglas was unavailable for comment Friday.
Stevens said pathologists determined that the Taser “did not in itself cause the fatality,” but a combination of factors such as stress and the physical struggle contributed to the heart attack.
Mittelstadt had traveled to Boundary County from the Lake Shasta area in California. He had several contacts with law enforcement during the trip, including an arrest for driving under the influence in Oregon, which included a mental health examination.
Stevens believes Mittelstadt may have been trying to contact a family member in Moses Lake but got lost. He was located on a dead-end road about 10 miles from the Canadian border.