Richmond jail inmate’s death ruled homicide 11 years after he was shot in the head

Posted at 1:31 PM, Oct 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-15 23:09:56-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Zachary Tuggle's July death inside the Richmond jail was caused by a seizure disorder, the Office of the Medical Examiner concluded. The seizure disorder was brought on by a gunshot wound to the head Tuggle, 29, suffered 11 years ago. As a result, his death has been ruled a homicide.

The jail's medical unit responded to Tuggle's cell Monday July 13, 2015, at 12:24 p.m. Richmond Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived about 10 minutes later. Tuggle was pronounced dead at 1:11 p.m. Investigators concluded Tuggle routinely refused to take his seizure medication.

"Jail residents have the right to refuse their medications. Furthermore, due to Federal regulations, neither medical staff nor our deputies may discuss a person’s medical treatment with anyone else, unless the person receiving treatment signs a release," Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody said. "It is our duty to follow all investigations wherever they lead, leaving no stone unturned, and avoiding speculation. When it comes to the death of a loved one, the family deserves to know what actually happened, and our best guess will never be good enough."

According to the Medical Examiner’s report, "Post-traumatic seizures are one of the most common complications of head injuries." Toxicology reports are positive for the presence the seizure medication “within a therapeutic range” however that "does not eliminate the risk of having a seizure."

Tuggle was the first of three inmates who died in the Richmond jail in one week. Inmate Shawn Samuel died of a heroin overdose, the Medical Examiner’s Office and Richmond Sheriff's Office reported. Inmate Javon Antoine Morris died of natural causes.



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