BOSSIER CITY, La. – The Bossier City man who died while in police custody Tuesday ingested drugs and began convulsing before his death, sources close to the investigation tell KTBS.
The type of drug was not immediately known. There was no sign of trauma on the man's body, the sources said.
State police on Wednesday identified the man as 30-year-old Billy Ray Hill.
Troop G spokesman Trooper Brent Hardy confirmed via a news release that Hill died shortly after his arrest by Bossier City police. EMS was called after Hill became unconscious. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hill’s body was sent to Little Rock, Ark., for an autopsy. Hardy said a toxicology panel is part of the autopsy to determine cause of death.
A witness told KTBS Tuesday what looked like a bag of drugs and money were on the ground near Hill when he was handcuffed.
State police are leading the investigation. Interviews of the officers and EMS personnel are continuing. An update on the investigation is anticipated early next week, Hardy said today.
Hill’s death came after Bossier City police were called around 11 a.m. to a report of a stolen vehicle at a business on Barksdale Boulevard on the East Bank District.
Witnesses told KTBS they saw a man pull into the parking lot at Red River Collision Center, ditch his car and eventually jump into the body shop's truck before getting out and running. Employees reported the theft and Bossier City police were on the scene in an instant.
The man ran but was captured by police and taken into custody. The witness told KTBS the man was handcuffed and seated on the ground next to the patrol unit. He appeared to be OK at the time.
Initially, the man's death was referred to as a "use of force incident." But that was later changed to an in-custody death.
Hill’s run-in with police was not his first. He’s been arrested three times in the past 10 years for resisting an officer in Caddo and Bossier parishes. He also has drug convictions and other arrests that were not prosecuted.
In August 2017, Hill pleaded guilty to one of two counts of possession of a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance and was sentenced to three years in state prison. He was also placed on supervised probation upon his release. But in April 2019, Hill appeared in court where his probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve his prison time, minus credit for time already served.
His latest arrested happened in 2020 in Caddo Parish. He pleaded guilty on July 2 to second-offense domestic abuse battery and battery of a police officer. A resisting charge was dismissed.
Hill was sentenced to a year in prison plus a fine and court costs on the domestic charge, with another six months to run concurrent for the battery charge.