BARSTOW • The man who died Monday morning after officers shot him with a Taser had a history of serious felony crimes, though family described the man as "loving and caring."
The San Bernardino County Coroner's office identified the man as Alex Quintanilla, 22, of Hesperia.
California Highway Patrol officers were called to the scene on Interstate 15 at the Lenwood exit around 2 a.m. Monday with reports a pedestrian had been hit by a vehicle, though this was found not to be true, said CHP Officer Mario Lopez. They did find Quintanilla running into the freeway and "acting erratic" Lopez said. Barstow police were called to assist with the incident. When officers approached the man he ran across all lanes, threw rocks at patrol units and even bit one officer.
Quintanilla went into cardiac arrest after officers from attempted to subdue the man with a Taser. The officers performed CPR on Quintanilla before he was transported to Barstow Community Hospital and pronounced dead.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the cause of death.
Court records show Quintanilla was convicted of vehicle theft, participating in a criminal street gang and carrying a concealed dirk or dagger. He also faced charges of battery in December 2010, though they were later dismissed.
Quintanilla's sister, Martha, who lives in Barstow, responded to the negative comments others posted on the Desert Dispatch website in defense of her brother.
"He was my brother and you didn't know him and what he was going through," she wrote. "Shame on you saying he deserved it. He was a very loving and caring person...a father, son, brother and friend."
Both the CHP and the Barstow Police are conducting internal investigations of the incident.