TRONA — Authorities are investigating an in-custody death after a Trona man was pronounced dead Friday afternoon at a hospital in Ridgecrest.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials said Jonathan Barrio, 35, experienced a “medical emergency and stopped breathing” after becoming combative with a deputy, who responded to the 84000 block of 12th Street at approximately 3:19 p.m. for an “unwanted subject.” 

The deputy arrived and contacted Barrio who matched the description of the “unwanted subject.”

“Barrio appeared to be under the influence,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement. “The deputy attempted to arrest/handcuff Barrio, when Barrio became combative. Barrio was eventually placed in the back seat of the patrol car and he was hobbled.”

That’s when Barrio experienced a “medical emergency and stopped breathing.” Barrio was then transported to a hospital by ambulance and was later pronounced dead.

“Sheriff’s Specialized Investigators were called to the scene to conduct the investigation,” sheriff’s officials said. “An autopsy will be conducted by Kern County Coroner Officials to determine the cause of death.”

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call Sheriff’s Homicide Detail Det. Nick Clark at 909-387-3589. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip hotline at 800-782-7436 or visit