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Tuesday, October 8, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Puget Sound Newswatch

Inquest To Examine Man's Death

SEATTLE - King County Executive Gary Locke has ordered an inquest into the death of Andre Rufus Stapleton, who died in custody last month shortly after being arrested by Seattle Police officers.

The inquest, which is a fact-finding hearing, will examine the circumstances leading to Stapleton's death. It was recommended by the King County Prosecutor's Office.

Inquests are typically ordered when someone dies in jail or police custody.

During the early morning of Sept. 1, Stapleton was allegedly assaulting and verbally abusing employees at a convenience store at North 85th Street and Aurora Avenue North, a Seattle Police spokeswoman said.

"We took the man into custody with very little force; and while the officers were waiting for an ambulance to arrive, they noticed that the man had stopped breathing," she said. The medical examiner's office attributed the death to a combination of drug use, physical exertion and physical restraint.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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