A 39-year-old adult film actor who died days after an April 8 confrontation with police and paramedics was stunned twice with a Taser during a struggle that began inside the back of an ambulance, police said Monday.
Marland A. Anderson, whose stage name was "Sledge Hammer," died Friday from unknown problems at a hospital. Coroner’s officials were expected to conduct an autopsy Tuesday.
He struggled with police and paramedics on April 8 after Anderson’s fiancé called police after 3 a.m. about an attempted suicide, said Lt. Andy Neiman.
The victim’s fiancé, 24-year-old Alexa Cruz, said she didn’t know there had been an altercation until she visited Anderson in the hospital that afternoon.
"I was horrified; I couldn't even speak or breathe. I just kept asking, 'What happened? What happened?'" said Cruz, a former adult film actress.
"I was expecting him to be out of it from medications; not all beaten up with a breathing tube."
Paramedics and police showed up to Cruz’s apartment around 1:30 a.m., and took Anderson away in handcuffs, seemingly at his request, she said.
"He put his hands behind his back; he was very cooperative," Cruz said. "They didn’t say anything about arrest. I think he just really wanted to get help."
Anderson had no abrasions when he left her apartment, Cruz said. But when she visited him in the hospital hours later, her finance was "covered in scratches and his knuckles were scratched up."
Police said officers struggled with Anderson in the back of the ambulance after Anderson had become agitated, broke a handcuff that that was attached to a rail of the gurney he was on and tried to stand up, breaking the gurney free of its floor lock.
Two officers used a Taser stun gun to try to restrain him, but to no avail, Neiman said. During the struggle in the ambulance, an officer who was pinned under Anderson was stunned by the Taser, Neiman said.
Up to eight officers arrived as backup to try and help restrain Anderson, Neiman said.
A use of force investigation was launched into the incident. Cruz would not comment whether the family has hired a lawyer or filed suit.
Before police were called, Anderson held a knife over his head, Cruz said. When she tried to take it away from him, she grabbed it by the blade and suffered a cut on her pinky finger.
Cruz said she repeatedly told responding officers that it was not domestic violence, and refused to get stitches.
A chronic insomniac, Anderson hadn’t slept more than a few hours for several days when Cruz called police.
"He repeated over and over (to paramedics), ‘I’m tired, I’m tired,’" she said.
Cruz said she suspects her fiancé was struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness, citing his claims that night that he was hearing voices, paranoia that people were against him and was threatening to take his life.
"It was weird because he kept letting me take things away from him," she said. "I think it was a call for help."
In 2007, Cruz said, Anderson had attempted to commit suicide by combing pills and hydrogen peroxide before calling the police on himself. Until April 8, he hadn’t attempted or suggested suicide, she added.
Anderson seemed to be leaning toward seeing a psychiatrist and visiting a sleep clinic, Cruz said.
The pair, who has been together for three years, was planning to marry and move to the desert, where Anderson was looking for work as a manual laborer after Cruz said he wanted to move on from adult films after 15 years in the business.
Erica Sullivan, 25, a friend of Anderson's for 10 years, said he was a soft-spoken, well-mannered man.
"He was the most kind, sweet, adorable human being you could ever ask for," she told NBC4 in an interview Sunday. “It was not within him to harm another being.
"He was beloved by so many people."
A private family memorial is being planned, Cruz said.