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Man, 65, dies in Las Vegas police custody after struggle

A 65-year-old man’s family is left looking for answers following his death in Las Vegas police custody Sunday morning.

He was Roy Anthony Scott of Las Vegas, according to the Clark County coroner’s office. He was pronounced dead at 4:38 am. Sunday at Valley Hospital Medical Center, the coroner’s office said. His cause and manner of death were still pending as of Monday.

Scott began experiencing medical issues after a struggle with officers while they tried to pat him down for possible weapons, according to a statement Monday from the Metropolitan Police Department.

His family said Monday that Scott had schizophrenia and other health problems.

Scott had called police about 3:10 a.m. to report there were three suspicious men, one armed with a saw, outside of his central valley apartment on the 3600 block of El Conlon Avenue, near Sahara Avenue and Valley View Boulevard, Metro said.

Officers didn’t see any suspicious people or circumstances outside Scott’s apartment and knocked on his door. Shortly after, Scott walked outside holding a pipe and cellphone, police said. He also had a knife in his possession, but Scott surrendered the items when commanded by officers, police said.

“The officers attempted to do a pat-down for other weapons and a brief struggle ensued,” the statement read in part. “Once in handcuffs, the man began to experience medical issues and was transported to Valley Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”

The department’s Force Investigation Team, which handles in-custody deaths, is investigating the case.

Members of Scott’s family expressed concern and skepticism over his death during phone interviews Monday.

His daughter, 41-year-old Rochelle Scott of Hesperia, California, said Scott had health problems and lived with mental illness for about three decades. He had schizophrenia and had been in and out of mental health facilities, she said, adding that her father “might’ve been in another state” during his Sunday interactions with police.

“He probably got afraid,” she said.

Scott’s sister-in-law, Rebecca Switzer of North Carolina, said the coroner’s office told her that Scott appeared to be growing agitated while police tried to check him for additional weapons. At some point, officers “wrestled him down” and realized he wasn’t breathing correctly, she said.

Scott wasn’t the type to call police, as he didn’t feel safe around officers, Switzer said.

“This story is just not making sense to us,” Switzer said.

Rochelle Scott plans to travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday to view body-worn camera footage and speak with detectives about her father’s death.

“I just want answers,” she said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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