Nearly a month after deputies said alleged murder suspect Joshua Grose killed himself in the York County Detention Center, York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant Tuesday led a lengthy press conference outlining the exact circumstances surrounding his demise in the custody of jailers.
Grose was arrested October 18 for the brutal murder of his mother and a neighbor and the attempted murder of his uncle. Witnesses, in 911 calls released following the incident, picture Grose running over one of the women to the point where she was unrecognizable.
But on the morning of October 20, the 32-year-old Rock Hill native, who was no stranger to the law, attempted to drown himself in a toilet inside a darkened jail cell. Sheriff’s Attorney Kris Jordan led reporters through the 90 minute video of the incident, where officers were first alerted that something was wrong after hearing noises coming from Grose’s cell.
Within seconds, officers arrived at the cell and attempted to strap him into a restraint chair. Grose refused, “planking,” or fully extending his arms and legs in what ultimately took eight officers nearly ten minutes to secure him in the chair. During the struggle, Grose performed a sex act on one of the officers.
In the video, Grose was struck several times with an open fist by an officer, a method of use of force used to subdue combative suspects. In this case, Jordan said, Grose had wrapped his leg around an officer’s leg, pinning him to the chair.
After Grose was restrained, officers in a nearby control room called for an ambulance to check on him. Piedmont Medical Center EMS arrived within approximately ten minutes and examined Grose’s head before a football helmet was strapped to his head.
Officers wheeled Grose into a neighboring holding cell, where video shows him violently struggling and banging his head against a glass-like door 142 times. In a series of routine checks conducted at 15-minute intervals, officers noticed Grose was not moving in his cell and after freeing a strap from the restraint chair lodged in an electronic door locked, discovered he was not breathing.
Officers immediately removed Grose from the restraint chair and connected an Automated External Defibrillator and conducted CPR for approximately 20 minutes. During the time, officers contacted York County 911 a second time that morning, who arrived within ten minutes. Grose was later pronounced dead at Piedmont Medical Center.
“Everything that they did was for the purpose of saving this man’s life,” Bryant said. “He was out of control.”
The Sheriff’s Office declined to publicly release the surveillance footage, citing a security risk at the detention center. A preliminary autopsy has found Gorse died of blunt force head trauma. However the manner of death has not yet been determined.
“If any of you can show me where we did anything wrong to cause this man’s death, I challenge you to go out and report it,” Bryant said. “Everything that we did — I call heroic.”
In addition to standard procedures, Bryant said, officers also showed ingenuity by using standard-issue Police zip-ties in an attempt to restrain Grose’s head from striking the glass wall. Officers also inserted towels between Grose’s back and the back of the restraint chair to protect him.
“Go check with any of the surrounding jails… they all use the same type of devices, our people are trained, you never saw an officer of mine strike this man in the head,” Bryant said.
An investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division will be conducted pending Grose’s final autopsy.