Coroner: Mix of drugs including fentanyl, heroin caused death of CA police officer in Charleston

VIDEO: Coroner: Mix of drugs including fentanyl, heroin caused death of CA police officer in Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - According to the coroner’s report obtained by Live 5 News through a Freedom of Information Act request, the death of a California police officer in Charleston was caused by a mix of drugs.

Deputy coroner Sara Tuuk determined that West Sacramento police officer Rinaldo Monterrosa died from an acute mixed drug toxicity which included fentanyl, heroin/morphine, and ethanol.

“At this time, due to many unknowns and witnesses providing limited information, we are not able to determine a specific “Manner” of death and therefore it is best deemed “Undetermined” pending new or additional information," Tuuk wrote in the report.

Monterrosa died at the Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Charleston in December 2018. Officers responded to the hotel in the 300 block of Meeting Street on Dec. 15.

He was initially attending training in the region, then traveled to Charleston to attend a military graduation for a family member of a friend, according to West Sacramento Police Sgt. Eric Angle.

In supplemental reports citing statements from friends, they say the group went out drinking in downtown Charleston all night and went to bed around 4 a.m. The next morning his friends found him lying on the floor unresponsive.

When officers arrived, they noted dried blood on Monterrosa’s face and around his nose as well as small blood spots on the pillows. There were also a number of beer cans and liquor bottles in the room, according to the reports.

In a Facebook post, West Sacramento Police said Monterrosa had recently returned to duty after a yearlong battle with lymphoma. Monterrosa was an 11-year veteran of the department and was a U.S. Army veteran as well. He left behind a wife and four children, the post stated.

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