Fentanyl poisoning killed man in police custody

photoSource: FCPD video

Fairfax County Police today today issued an update on their investigation into the death of a 31-year-old man who died in June while in police custody. 

Police Chief Edwin Roessler told a news conference that the medical examiner had concluded the man died of acute fentanyl poisoning, one of 65 opioid overdoses in Fairfax County so far this year. 

Police had been called to the 4300 block of Mission Court in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, where they found Christopher Paul, who they said had become agitated and struck a family member in the head, possibly as the result of an overdose or other health condition.   

When police arrived about 4:30 p.m. on June 26, they found the family member outside the home, with Paul inside. Crisis intervention-trained officers entered the disheveled home and tried to speak with Paul to calm him, as shown in body-camera video released today. But Paul tried to harm himself and threw himself on the floor.

After officers handcuffed him, Paul continued to flail and a  nylon restraining device was used to restrict his leg movements to protect officers and fire department personnel from being kicked.

As Fairfax County Fire and Rescue staff were medically assessing Paul, he became unresponsive and medics immediately began treating him. Fire department personnel took Paul to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


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James R. Hood
James R. Hood is the editor and publisher of FairfaxNews.com. A former Associated Press editor and executive, he has more than 50 years of reporting experience.