Cell phone video shows violent brawl between suspect, officers

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Phoenix police investigators comb the scene where a police officer shot a man with a stun gun on Sunday night. The man died shortly after in a Phoenix hospital. (Source: CBS 5 News) Phoenix police investigators comb the scene where a police officer shot a man with a stun gun on Sunday night. The man died shortly after in a Phoenix hospital. (Source: CBS 5 News)

A restaurant fight caught on video turned deadly for one of the combatants when he died at a hospital after a Phoenix police officer shot him with a stun gun on Sunday night.

Phoenix police identified the man Tuesday as 38-year-old Edward Michael Caruth.

The fight between two men started about 10:30 p.m. inside Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, near 49th Avenue and Bell Road, and employees at the restaurant caught the entire thing on cell phone video.

As officers proceeded to the scene, the caller stated the suspect had been at the restaurant acting strange and mumbling to himself.

At one point, Caruth had entered a restroom, barricaded himself in, turned on the water faucets and flooded the floor, said Phoenix police spokesman Officer James Holmes.

The suspect then left the restroom, picked up a yellow "wet floor" sign and began destroying the counter area of the restaurant, Holmes said. The suspect attempted to go behind the counter and toward the kitchen area, but an employee grabbed a knife and ordered the suspect to stay back, Holmes said.

The first officer arrived on scene, entered the restaurant, drew his stun gun and began giving commands to the suspect. The suspect went to his knees but refused to obey further commands, Holmes said.

A police sergeant arrived and he and the officer attempted to take Caruth into custody. At that time, he began fighting with the officers, Holmes said. Caruth struck the officers numerous times and both deployed their stun guns in an effort to stop the threat, Holmes said. 

In the video you can clearly see two officers struggling to handcuff the suspect, who then gets up and begins punching the officers.

"My initial reaction is, 'Oh my God. What his he doing to this officer?'" said Holmes.

"There are two officers there and yet there is an opportunity for this suspect to wail away, if you will," he continued.

The devices failed to subdue the man and the suspect continued to fight, according to Holmes.

Six minutes went by before two more officers arrived. The four officers were finally able to secure Caruth, who began showing signs of medical distress.

Help arrived from the Phoenix Fire Department and Caruth was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The original officer and sergeant were injured as they attempted to apprehend the suspect and both were transported to a local hospital.

The sergeant received stitches for a lacerated ear and he had a sprained back and shoulder. The officer received lacerations to his hand and injured his right arm. Both had scratches and pain from being struck several times by the suspect. The sergeant and the officer were later released from the hospital.

Holmes said it still isn't clear why the suspect was at the business and the cause of his behavior has not been determined.

The investigation is continuing by Phoenix police and the Medical Examiner's Office.

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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