ALEXANDRIA, Va. - An investigation is underway after a 31-year-old unarmed, naked man died in Fairfax County police’s custody during a domestic call.
Police responded to the 4300 block of Mission Court in Alexandria for a call about a possible overdose and possible domestic assault just after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Investigators said this all started when a family member called 911 after possibly being struck in the head.
However, it ended up being a different situation when police arrived at the scene. Police said they found Christopher Paul inside his parents’ home naked and experiencing some sort of medical or mental health crisis. The 31-year-old man lived off of Telegraph Road directly around the corner from his parents’ home.
Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler said the two officers that first responded to the home were both trained in crisis intervention and mental health awareness.
“As they were trying to deescalate Mr. Paul’s behavior, Mr. Paul on his own accord caused himself to fall to the floor,” said Chief Roessler. “At this time, the officers seized the opportunity to safely move in and restrain Mr. Paul as he was a threat to himself by his own physical actions. This was done by first handcuffing Mr. Paul and then using a nylon supplemental restraining device to stop his legs from violently kicking. As a matter of policy, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue medics staged outside the home. When Mr. Paul was brought under control, the medics were then called in to provide a medical assessment of Mr. Paul.”
Police said Paul became unresponsive as medics were assessing and treating him. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“With a level of confidence, I can say that no physical use of force was used against Mr. Paul nor were any other type of weapons used against him,” said Roessler.
Right now, it is not clear if any drugs were found at the scene. Paul was not armed.
A neighbor and longtime family friend is shocked at what unfolded Tuesday afternoon.
“His mother was deeply concerned that Chris was having seizures and so she called for help with the police to restrain him so that medical treatment could take place,” said neighbor Robert Beschel. “The overdose I am absolutely convinced is completely false. He had trouble with asthma and he did have some medical issues like that, but never any history of drugs.
He added, “Completely shocking for us. We didn’t expect it. Wonderful kid. Seemed to be in great health. We are really, really surprised.”
Paul’s body has been taken to the medical examiner for an autopsy.
Police said there is body camera video of the incident, but the chief will not release the footage until “it will no longer jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.”
The six police officers involved in the incident are on administrative leave until the criminal and administrative investigations are complete.