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'Good Dad' Dies After Deputy Tases Him, Everyone Who Knew Him Says They Had The Wrong Guy
A newspaper employee whose friends and family described as a "good dad" and a "big, gentle guy" died this week after a deputy tased him in Victorville.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department says Dante Parker, 36, was a suspect in a burglary but family members, coworkers and friends paint a vastly different picture of Parker. They say it would be out of character for the family man and Victorville Daily Press pressman to commit a burglary, according to Daily Press.
Parker had been an employee at his job since at least 2007. His co-workers said he had stopped drinking alcohol earlier this year in an effort to lose weight because his doctor warned him of potential health problems. His coworker, Ronald Bantug, suggested Parker start riding a bike to lose weight, which he did with his family regularly around Luna Road. That bike is what led deputies to him on Tuesday.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department was notified of an attempted break-in burglary around 4:47 p.m. on Tuesday at a home on the 13000 block of Bucknell Court, according to The Press-Enterprise. The resident told authorities that the suspect fled the scene on a bicycle.
Deputies stopped Parker, who was cycling nearby on Luna Road, around 5 p.m. to question him. The Sheriff's Dept. said in a press release that the deputy there believed that Parker was possibly "under the influence of an unknown substance," and that he became "uncooperative and combative."
NBC Los Angeles reported that Parker allegedly fought a female deputy, leaving bruises on her arms, and she tased Parker multiple times. She and another deputy say they struggled with Parker before they handcuffed him and put him the backseat of the patrol car. They noticed that he was sweating and having trouble breathing, so they called a medical aid to treat him, and then they had an ambulance take him to a hospital, where he died.
"That whole story is totally wrong; that’s just not Dante,” Richard Loredo, a former coworker of Parker's, told Daily Press. “Dante’s not a burglar ... You can see how well his kids were raised; he was a good dad. For the police department to portray him like that is ... unfair."
Parker's father, Darrell Parker, told NBC Los Angeles: "He was a big, gentle guy. So I don't understand it. I'm at a loss for words. I miss him already."
Parker is survived by his wife and five children, including four girls from the ages of 8 to 19, and a 5-year-old boy.
The Sheriff's Dept. is investigating Parker's death and have arranged for an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.