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State Medical Examiner releases cause of death of toxic effects from psilocybin

By chillinwill, May 4, 2010 | | |
  1. chillinwill
    he state Medical Examiner's office has released the cause of death for a 24-year-old Cornelius man who died while in police custody.

    Daniel Joseph Barga died April 10 from "excited delirium" due to the toxic effects of psilocybin, or hallucinogenic mushrooms, said Dr. Karen Gunson, state medical examiner. Gunson said generally people experiencing excited delirium constantly demonstrate purposeless violent activity; have incoherent speech; don't respond to stimuli, such as pain, in a normal way; experience hallucinations; and die from a misbeat of their heart.

    Gunson said Barga would not have died if he hadn't used the mushrooms.

    "This is what triggered his peculiar behavior," Gunson said.

    Excited delirium cases are generally seen in people who are schizophrenic, experience manic phases or who have used cocaine, methamphetamine or mushrooms, Gunson said. People who are experiencing excited delirium become stimulated, Gunson said, and often become extremely warm with increased sweating.

    Gunson said excited delirium can be part of a restraint death, such as when officers restrain suspects on the ground to handcuff them. But, Gunson said, there was no evidence of a restraint death in Barga's case. Gunson said the medical examiner's office carefully reviews what witnesses, police and medics say to determine whether a person died from restraint because there often isn't evidence on the body.

    Barga died after being taken into custody following a disturbance in the backyard of a home in a subdivision in the 3000 block of North Irvine Street, police said. The homeowner told Cornelius Officer Mark Jansen that a partially clothed man had confronted him, and was behaving erratically and threatening violence, police said.

    Jansen found Barga in the backyard covered with blood and refusing to cooperate, police said. Jansen used a Taser, which delivers a 50,000-volt shock, in an effort to subdue Barga, police said. But the stun-gun had no effect, police said.

    Barga reportedly resisted as Jansen tried to wrestle him to the ground and bolted down North Irvine Street toward North 31st Avenue, not following Jansen's commands to stop, police said. Forest Grove Sgt. Dean Foster and Officer Scott King were called to assist and joined the chase after Barga, police said. The officers continued attempts to stop Barga, using Tasers and pepper spray, but he resisted, police said.

    Barga then stopped breathing while being taken into custody. Medics transported Barga to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

    Washington County District Attorney Bob Hermann said last month that based on the investigation there appears to be no criminal conduct on the officers' part. They were cleared to return to duty in mid-April.

    County prosecutor Robert Bletko is reviewing the case, which the Washington County Inter-Agency Major Crimes Team is investigating. The investigation will be completed after the district attorney's office receives the autopsy report, which includes results from the toxicology test, Bletko said Monday.

    By Rebecca Woolington
    May 3, 2010
    The Oregonian


  1. xenos
    geez... thats nightmarish... though there have been much, much more deaths by police than there have been documented of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. not pointing the finger, but they were most likely involved in a negative way towards a tripping mind,

    not to say it was necessarily unjustified considering the situations that police are trained for.
  2. fiveleggedrat
    They tasered the fucker, are you kidding me? How does that not figure into cause of death with the statistical amount of people that suddenly die after taser usage?
  3. John Doe
    A quick google of "excited delirium" is an interesting read. The only fact based websites are governmental organisations and all NGO's seem to debate if it even exists as it seems to only ever come up as a cause of death where law enforcement is involved. Wild IMO.
  4. KingMe
    not caliming to be any kind of expert, but in swims opinion excited delirium refers to a psychological state. rarely does the mind stop the heart directly. the cause of death should have been better reported (either buy the coroner, or by the media): was it the delirium and the violence? was it the psilocin overdose?

    but as always, such cases are best taken with a pinch of salt: maybe had it not been for the delirium the person might not have been in the position to be harmed by others.

    interesting read!
  5. EscapeDummy
    Ok, it's pretty ridiculous that they didn't factor in the tasering and pepper spray... and the cops a lot of the time might over react, but still, let's all be real here guys. What do you expect the cops to do? "Oh, he's clearly out of his mind, a danger to himself and others... but he's tripping, lets be gentle with him, make sure he doesn't have a worse trip! We can be his trip sitters!"

    Swim disagrees a lot police brutality/overreaction, but he doesn't think this is an example of that; if someone is delirious and in public [edit: on someone else's private property], their job is to restrain that person and remove them from harming others. Period. They don't know if he's tweaking, on PCP, just psychotic, or on mushrooms.
    Very unfortunate story but in swim's humble opinion, the cops took the right course of action here. Swim doesn't find them liable in his opinion.

    edit: could be anecdotal/nonrepresentative, but interestingly enough, swim has read more experience reports on this site and on erowid about people becoming somewhat psychotic and violent on mushrooms MUCH more than on LSD. considering they are by far the two most widely used psychedelics, he finds this interersting.
  6. Alfa
    I would be most interested to learn the amount of psilocin measured in the victims blood. I write 'victim' because I find it highly unlikely that psilocin or psilocybin would be the main cause for this fatality.
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