Crime

Man suspected of terrorizing central Modesto neighborhood dies

Suspect breaks into Modesto home, terrorizes neighbors

Neighborhood resident Bryon Karamchandani talks about how in a span of about 30 minutes, residents of Grantland Court off Morris Avenue in Modesto went from being terrorized by a bloodied, feces-smeared man to seeing him taken to a hospital. (Deke
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Neighborhood resident Bryon Karamchandani talks about how in a span of about 30 minutes, residents of Grantland Court off Morris Avenue in Modesto went from being terrorized by a bloodied, feces-smeared man to seeing him taken to a hospital. (Deke

The bloodied and feces-smeared naked man who allegedly terrorized a Modesto neighborhood before suffering critical injuries after being subdued by officers has died.

Garrett Schmidt, 33, died last week in a Modesto hospital three days after suffering a “medical emergency” while in custody following his bizarre break-in at a Grantland Court home and subsequent rampage through the neighborhood, according to Heather Graves, spokeswoman for the Modesto Police Department.

Officers responding to more than a half-dozen 911 calls of a man apparently under the influence and forcing his way into homes used physical control holds, beanbag guns and a Taser to apprehend the Schmidt.

Once in handcuffs, Schmidt suffered a medical emergency for which he required CPR, Graves said last week. He died on Thursday. His cause of death has yet to be determined.

Because he was in custody at the time of his medical emergency, the case is being treated as an “officer-involved critical incident,” Graves said.

A criminal and administrative investigation has been launched.

The officers involved, according to Graves, were Alex Bettis, a 19-year veteran; Michael Pershall, an eight-year veteran; Joseph Lamantia, on the force for eight years; three-year veterans Tyler Caldwell and Darien Wilson; and Joshua Shackelford, a two-year veteran.

All were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure for an officer-involved critical incident.

Bettis and Lamantia were placed on administrative leave earlier this month for their part in a fatal officer-involved shooting on Oct. 8. In that incident in the 1500 block of Queens Avenue, Kim Jackson, 53, was shot dead when she charged at officers with knives, police said.

On Oct. 24 at about 10 p.m., officers responded to several 911 calls coming from residents on Grantland Court just off Morris Avenue.

Grantland Court resident Robert Fenrich said Schmidt broke into their home, which forced he and his wife to lock themselves in their master bathroom. His wife’s cousin, who also lives in the house, locked herself in her bedroom.

They called 911 while Schmidt allegedly broke through the window of the back door, moved about the house and eventually climbed on their bed, tore the blinds from a window above the headboard and broke out the screen before exiting.

He went on to assault an off-duty probation officer, who lives next door. He eventually was back inside the Fenrich home when police arrived. When officers broke down the door to get to Schmidt, he allegedly ran out and tackled one of the officers, Graves said.

A struggle ensued, which included the use of beanbag guns and a Taser, before officers were able to restrain him. At that point, and with medical staff on hand, he suffered a “medical emergency.” CPR was performed, and he was rushed to a nearby hospital.

No officers suffered any major injuries, Graves said.

Graves said some of those officers might be removed from leave as detectives continue to investigate the specifics of the incident and who was directly involved.

Deke Farrow contributed to this report.

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