SPOKANE, Wash. -- More witnesses came forward Monday to describe what caused Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies to tase a man along Regal outside of the Oz Fitness. The tasing happened Thursday around 7:00 p.m.
The man, William Berger, died Monday. The Spokane County Medical Examiner listed the 34 year-old’s cause of death as “pending further studies” on the autopsy report. Berger was declared brain dead by doctors on Friday.
Witnesses said a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputy tased the man on Thursday night at least twice.
“The deputies had the guy on the ground,” said witness Corey Crisp. “Both of them were on top of him. The guy’s face was in the ground with the deputies knee on his head. Then I heard a taser go off for five to then seconds. Then he was unresponsive.”
Crisp's apartment overlooks the spot where Berger sustained his eventual fatal injuries.
He heard Berger's father scream, and said it was far worse than hearing the taser go off.
Family friend and attorney, Karen Unger, said William Berger had just closed on a house in the area. Berger’s father was in town to help according to Unger. Berger's father had dropped him off at Oz Fitness and when he returned to pick him up he witnessed his son being tased.
“The dad showed up on scene and yelled to the cops ‘that's my son,’ said Crisp.
He also heard Berger’s father say that he had the number for mental health. Berger’s father also warned authorities that his son had a head injury according to Crisp.
Crisp also witnessed deputies and first responders perform CPR on Berger's body.
Witnesses said the man who was tased became belligerent inside of the gym. He was allegedly lifting weights when he dropped one. He yelled at the weight, started punching equipment, and punched a hole in the wall according to Oz Fitness members. They said the man even threw a towel dispenser and cursed at other customers.
Authorities were called and eventually tased Berger outside of the gym.