Inmate sucker-punches officer while being booked into jail after violent rampage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Police officers say the last of David Farias's violent attacks happened inside the booking room of the Fresno County Jail. While waiting to get processed on Friday, he punched a female police officer in the face.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer said that Farias, "wasn't yelling, he wasn't screaming when he walked by the officer. She had no idea he was going to reach out and strike her in the face. It really caught her off guard."

A few hours earlier tenants called 9-1-1 after spotting a man acting belligerently in front of Masten Towers in Downtown Fresno.

Eddie Staley says it was Farias, wielding a pipe, and he had broken a man's arm. "The gentleman was swinging a 5-foot fence post at the first security guard inside the building," said Staley.

Staley normally uses a wheelchair but says adrenaline brought him to his feet. He was afraid Farias would do more harm. "I got out of my chair, and I took an aluminum bat, I hit him in the back of the head, it stunned him, and the security guard took him down," said Staley.

But that's not the end.

The 50-year-old Farias declined medical treatment and was taken to the Fresno County Jail.

But, before he could be booked, he allegedly lunged at another inmate, then went after the officer.

"Several officers grabbed him. Finally, officers were able to overcome that resistance," said Chief Dyer.

Police say Farias doesn't have any recent criminal history. Neighbors say he appeared to be high on meth and a recent family death may have sent him over the edge.

Officers say as Farias was being taken to the hospital, he stopped breathing in the ambulance and remains in critical condition tonight. Doctors are still trying to determine what caused him to stop breathing.

Once released, he will face charges of assault with a deadly weapon as well as making terrorist threats.
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