LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – An inmate died less than 48 hours after officers used force against him, the 8 News Now Investigators have learned.
Christian Walker, 44, died at High Desert State Prison on April 15, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.
Walker had previously been housed at Southern Desert Correctional Center, a facility considered to house “medium custody” inmates. SDCC is located in Indian Springs which is about a 45-minute drive north of Las Vegas.
Walker had run from officers at SDCC and was then transferred to High Desert State Prison on April 13, according to a department spokesperson. High Desert State Prison is a maximum security facility located near SDCC.
Officers reported that Walker did not comply at intake at High Desert State Prison. OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) spray, also referred to as “pepper spray” was used to try to get Walker to comply and then several officers used batons, according to an internal document obtained by the 8 News Now Investigators. The same document stated that officers put Walker into mechanical restraints.
Several sources have told the 8 News Now Investigators that Walker was taken to a hospital and then returned to prison.
On April 15, Walker was found unresponsive. Officers called 911 and CPR was administered until first responders arrived at the scene, according to the spokesperson.
The cause and manner of death are pending, according to a spokesperson for the Clark County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy will be conducted.
NDOC Director James Dzurenda requested an investigation by both the Attorney General’s office and the Nevada Department of Public Safety.
“Whether any officers go on leave or face disciplinary action will be determined by those investigations,” a department spokesperson wrote in an email to the 8 News Now Investigators.
Walker first went to prison in 1999 and was serving a sentence of 28 years to life with parole for second-degree murder, attempted murder, and two counts of use of a deadly weapon, according to the department.
Return Strong, a group that advocates for inmates and their families had been working with Walker to try to get him pardoned due to the circumstances of the crime. Executive Director Jodi Hocking sent the following statement:
“Return Strong! has been involved with Christian since early in the formation of our organization. He talked to us often about his journey from the decisions he made as a boy to the man he had become and the changes he made in his life and the impact on the people around him. He was filled with such positive energy and looked forward to the day when he could redeem his story in freedom. While so many of the pieces of this story are still unclear, one thing is abundantly clear-Christian was not given a death sentence and he died in the state’s custody- the questions all need to be answered. He was a phenomenal human being that was loved and adored by his family and friends and by our community.”
Walker’s mother told the 8 News Now Investigators on Tuesday that she was too distraught to talk. She expressed that she believes excessive force was used against her son because of a photo she had seen of his body.
This is a developing story. To reach investigative reporter, Vanessa Murphy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.