TUCSON, AZ — Pima County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to reports of an in-custody death at the Pima County Adult Detention Complex on Aug. 16 around 8 p.m.
The dead man has been identified as 37-year-old Wade Welch.
On Aug. 15, Welch was booked into the Pima County Adult Detention Complex on charges of Domestic Violence Disorderly Conduct and Domestic Violence Threats and Intimidation.
Pima County Corrections Officers transferred Welch from one housing unit to another on Aug. 16, 2022, around 07:30 p.m.
Welch refused to enter his cell and officers tried to physically restrain him. During this time, one of the Corrections Officers discharged their taser, using both cartridges with little effect.
Welch remained aggressive and grabbed the taser from the officer before being taken to the ground. He refused to place his hands behind his back and was tazed again with both cartridges.
According to the Pima Regional Critical Incident Team, an officer activated the taser directly on Welch's skin with little effect, spat on him, and handcuffed him.
They attempted to place him in a restraint chair by walking him from the upper level of the housing unit to the lower level.
Welch became aggressive as officers placed him in the chair, refusing to comply with verbal commands, and an officer placed the taser on Welch's leg and activated it.
Welch then became unresponsive.
Until Tucson Fire arrived, officers and the on-site nursing staff began life-saving measures. Despite these efforts, Welch was pronounced dead.
PRCIT was initiated to handle the criminal investigation of this critical incident.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department, the Tucson Police Department, the Oro Valley Police Department, the Marana Police Department, the Pasqua Yaqui Police Department, the Sahuarita Police Department, the University of Arizona Police Department, the Pima Community College Police Department, and the South Tucson Police Department make up the PRCIT. The PRCIT was established to have outside law enforcement agencies lead criminal investigations into critical incidents such as officer-involved shootings.
The Tucson Police Department has been assigned primary responsibility for the criminal investigation of this In-Custody Death as part of the PRCIT. Internal Affairs at the Pima County Sheriff's Department will conduct a separate but parallel administrative investigation into the actions of their personnel.