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Bronx man dies in police custody, NYPD says

Officers were called to the man's apartment by his father, police said.

Dwayne Pritchett, left, died shortly after he was

Dwayne Pritchett, left, died shortly after he was taken into police custody in his Bronx apartment on Jan. 28, the NYPD said. Photo Credit: Composite: Alotisia Stevens and Shameem Buddington; Charles Eckert

A Bronx man, who police said was emotionally disturbed, died in custody Sunday, days before he was supposed to celebrate his son’s third birthday, according to the mom of his child.

Officers were called to 48-year-old Dwayne Pritchett’s apartment on Reservoir Avenue, between West 195th and Strong streets, in Jerome Park, shortly before 5 p.m. by his 71-year-old father, the NYPD said.

Pritchett was in his bedroom and was refusing to come out, his father had told police.

When the officers arrived, Pritchett opened the door to his room, and cops saw a handgun magazine on the floor. As the officers put Pritchett in handcuffs, he tried to grab a gun from one of them, police said.

Shortly after the officers took Pritchett from the room, he lost consciousness, according to police. Emergency personnel, who were at the scene already, took him to NewYork-Presbyterian / The Allen Hospital in Manhattan, where he was pronounced dead.

Pritchett, who worked as a barber, was supposed to travel to Atlanta to see his son Shane for his third birthday on Feb. 1, Shane’s mother, 42-year-old Alotisia Stevens, told reporters outside Pritchett’s apartment. Shane was staying with Pritchett’s mother, she said.

“He was a family man,” she said. “He had a happy spirit.”

Pritchett also had a 13-year-old son, Stevens said.

Police found drugs in the apartment and later charged Pritchett’s father, Prentis Pritchett, with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a weapon, an NYPD spokeswoman said.

Dwayne Pritchett had a history of using crack and cocaine, Stevens said, but she believed he wasn’t currently using. Stevens also said she had talked to him hours before the incident and he seemed normal.

“His only concern was to go see his son,” she said.

“Even if he had a drinking problem, even if he had a drug problem, that does not justify what happened,” Stevens added.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing.

With Charles Eckert

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