Local News

Wednesday, Jul 10 2013 11:58 AM

Group home resident dies after being restrained following altercation

By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

A client living at a group home in the Lamont area died Tuesday after assaulting one of the home's staff members and then being restrained, officials said Wednesday.

Joseph Adam Lynch, 27, was pronounced dead at Kern Medical Center about an hour after the 4:48 p.m. incident in the 3000 block of Hinsley Street, a coroner's office news release said. An autopsy is scheduled for later this week.

Deputies were originally dispatched to the group home for a report of vandalism, Kern County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ray Pruitt said. Lynch was identified as the suspect, but Pruitt said he didn't know what specifically Lynch was accused of vandalizing.

Pruitt said Lynch got in an argument with a staff member and punched him in the face. Two or three other staff members, as well as a resident, then tried to restrain him.

They were able to force the 5-foot 8-inch, 300-pound Lynch to the ground and hold him down, Pruitt said. They called law enforcement, but Lynch lost consciousness a couple minutes before deputies arrived.

Deputies found Lynch unresponsive and not breathing and began CPR. They called for medical aid and Lynch was taken to KMC.

Pruitt said the cause and manner of Lynch's death are unknown and it's hoped the autopsy will reveal more information later this week. He said it's his understanding that neither the staff members nor the other resident struck Lynch while restraining him.

The staff member who was punched suffered a "fairly significant" injury to his cheek that required medical aid, Pruitt said. The disagreement was over a house policy, but Pruitt said he couldn't elaborate further.

A worker at the group home declined to comment Wednesday and said all questions should be referred to the Sheriff's Office. Hinsley Street is just east of Weedpatch Highway off Muller Road.

Pruitt said he didn't know how long Lynch had been at the home or whether he'd had other altercations with staff or residents. The home is privately owned, and Pruitt said he was unsure whether Lynch was there as part of a voluntary program or had been ordered there.

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