A 29-year-old man died after fighting with Suffolk County police officers who tried to subdue him with a Taser and pepper spray at a Middle Island group home Wednesday night, authorities said.

Officers responded to Maryhaven Center of Hope on Currans Road after three employees reported that a resident “became uncontrollable and violent” at 8:18 p.m., police said in a news release.

“He’s acting out, banging himself into walls, running around the house,” said Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, commander of the Homicide Squad. “When the staff tries to stop him for his own protection, he then begins to physically attack them.”

Workers at the home asked that Dainell Simmons, who had been a resident of the home for its entire six-year existence, be taken to Stony Brook University Hospital for a psychiatric emergency, police said.

“He seems to be somewhat calmed down until they tell him that he’s going to have to leave,” Fitzpatrick said.

Simmons then allegedly tried to kick and bite the first three officers on the scene as the altercation spread across several rooms in the house before they used a Taser “at least twice” and pepper spray on him, Fitzpatrick said.

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After he was under control, Simmons went unconscious as an ambulance arrived. Officers and EMTs began CPR before he was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson, where he died.

His body was taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the man’s cause of death.

Several officers were treated and released from local hospitals for injuries they suffered during the struggle, police added.

A woman who answered the phone at the group home declined to comment.

Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation.

Fitzpatrick noted that the officers involved will not be back at work until they heal and will then likely be on modified duty pending an evaluation.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.