Man who died in front of police identified

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Authorities have identified a man who died in front of police early Thursday morning.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A man who died in front of officers early last Thursday has been identified as Nathaniel James Gomez, 33, of Morenci, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Gomez died at the scene in the area of the 700 block of 9th Avenue at around 4 a.m. According to a previous release from the Safford Police Department, officers were dispatched to the area regarding an attempted burglary and encountered Gomez covered in blood acting “out of control and delirious.” 

Gomez reportedly became combative when first responders attempted to provide medical attention and officers used a TASER and pepper spray to subdue him, according to the release. 

Medical professionals then attempted to give aid but the subject never revived and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Due to the nature of the incident and SPD’s involvement in initially subduing the subject, it is being investigated as a homicide by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. However, preliminary evidence shows the subject’s fatal injuries were likely caused by his own actions in an attempted burglary of a municipal building.