Clarksburg man who died had threatened housemates, police said

October 9, 2012

Residents of a Clarksburg townhouse were mourning a housemate who died Monday after he allegedly threatened them with a hammer and knife, according to the head of a group that runs the house.

Montgomery County police say Nathan Jones, 39, threatened two of his housemates and then resisted arrest when officers arrived shortly before 5 p.m. Police said they subdued Jones with pepper spray and took him into custody. After fire and rescue personnel treated him and left the scene, he began to lose consciousness, according to authorities, and died at a hospital.

“The people who lived with him, the people who know him, they’re in tears,” said Thom Harr, executive director of Family Services Inc., a nonprofit human services group that houses nearly 100 people around Montgomery County. “You can have somebody who becomes upset, but you never expect this to be the outcome. . . . 999 out of 1,000 times it’s not going to end this way.”

A medical examiner is working to determine the cause of Jones’s death, according to Officer Britta Thomas, a county police spokeswoman, and the incident remains under investigation.

Police say that after officers subdued Jones with pepper spray, which can cause intense burning and respiratory issues, fire and rescue personnel came to “decontaminate” him at 5:04 p.m. That process generally entails flushing the skin with water.

Police say emergency responders left the scene about 10 minutes later. A few minutes after that, according to police, Jones began to lose consciousness and have trouble breathing; the fire and rescue team was called back while police began CPR.

After arriving back on the scene, the fire and rescue team took Jones to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Thomas said Jones “was behaving erratically and threatening other residents in the home” when police were called, adding that he had been arrested for first-degree assault.

Nobody else was injured in the incident, according to Thomas.

Police said the townhouse on Tailor Shop Place serves as a home for individuals with intellectual and emotional disabilities. Police were called there in December for a report of erratic behavior, police said, but the case was not connected to Jones.

Harr would not discuss Jones’s background other than to say he thought he held a job.

“Most of the people who live in our housing, they’re the sons and daughters of the people in Montgomery County,” Harr said. “They are people who need a little more assistance to live in the community, and we provide that.”

In a separate incident Monday, a Bladensburg man was shot and killed by police in Silver Spring. Tracy Woodfork, 22, had called 911 and said he wanted police to kill him, authorities said. Officers told him to drop what they thought was a weapon, but he refused and began walking up a staircase toward them, according to police.

He was holding what turned out to be a “replica handgun,” police said. The Silver Spring incident is under investigation, according to Thomas.

Police have not released the names of the officers in either incident.

Mike Laris came to Post by way of Los Angeles and Beijing. He’s written about the world’s greatest holstein bull, earth’s biggest pork producer, home builders, the homeless, steel workers and Italian tumors.
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