Mesa police investigate death of man outside restaurant

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

MESA, Ariz. -- Mesa police are investigating the death of a man who was found not breathing in a restaurant parking lot.

Mesa police and firefighters responded to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse near the US-60 and Power Road shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday.

The 50-year-old man, identified as William Criswell, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Criswell was having dinner in the restaurant a short time before he was found.

"One of the patrons going into the restaurant had located a subject lying out in the parking lot who was not breathing," said Sgt. Tony Landato of the Mesa Police. "It's unclear whether or not this was the result of some sort of an assault as this subject did have some apparent injuries. However it could also be a situation where there are some medical issues that were going on and these injuries were sustained in a fall."

Police said Criswell appeared to have injuries, but it is unclear whether they were of criminal origin or sustained during a fall after a medical problem. Investigators are considering all possibilities. They are waiting for the medical examiner to determine the cause of death.

It did not appear that Criswell had been down in the parking lot for a long time, maybe just a few minutes, according to Sgt. Landato.

"We'll continue to have the word out trying to see anyone may have seen an altercation or anything like that," said Sgt. Landato.

Investigators are talking to restaurant employees and customers and looking at surveillance video to determine if Criswell was the victim of a crime.

"If there happens to be someone out there that may have seen or heard an altercation and in fact there was one then certainly we would like that information," said Sgt. Landato.