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Man in critical condition after brawl with Fullerton police

July 6, 2011 |  7:37 pm

Fullerton police incident A 37-year-old man was in "very critical condition" Wednesday evening after brawling with half a dozen Fullerton police officers, authorities said.

Two officers also were injured with a broken rib and broken bone in the arm during the fight, which lasted about seven minutes. The officers had responded to a report of someone breaking into cars in a lot at the Fullerton Transportation Center, police said.

Kelly Thomas, 37, described by police as a transient, began fighting two officers who tried to arrest him on suspicion of possessing items stolen from the vehicles, Sgt. Andrew Goodrich said.

Thomas tried to run from the two officers, who ended up knocking him to the ground and calling for backup as the struggle continued, Goodrich said. Four additional officers arrived and tried to help subdue Thomas.

"It was a long fight," Goodrich said. "He suffered a lot of injuries to his neck and head area."

Thomas was being treated Wednesday night at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Goodrich said that Fullerton Police Department internal affairs officers were conducting an administrative investigation of the incident and that detectives had launched a criminal probe of Thomas and the alleged vehicle burglaries.


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Map shows approximate area of the struggle.