Canyon County officials name man who died in Nampa police custody

April 22, 2013 

Anthony Firkins Jr. of Caldwell died while in custody of the Nampa police, Canyon County sheriff's deputies said Monday.

The Critical Incident Task Force and the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death of the 33-year-old man, which occurred after he was apprehended early Friday following a high-speed chase. An autopsy was conducted Friday but the cause of death has not been determined, said Joe Decker, a spokesman for the Canyon County Sheriff's Office.

The exact circumstances of the man’s death are still not clear, and Nampa police have not publicly specified the actions they took during his arrest. Decker said investigators are waiting on toxicology reports for Firkins. Lt. Chris McCormick is leading the investigation for Canyon County.

Nampa officers first responded Friday to a report of “suspicious circumstances” near the corner of Hudson and Canyon streets, including "the sounds of a female screaming somewhere in that area,” Nampa officials said in a news release.

Officers saw a pickup driving “in a reckless manner with no lights on.” They began pursuing the pickup and after several minutes Firkins lost control and crashed near 11th Avenue North and Industrial Road, according to the news release.

Firkins then got out of the pickup and jumped a fence, the release states. Officers found him hiding under a trailer.

“The suspect continued to be noncompliant with officers who were eventually able to take the suspect into custody,” police stated in the release. Soon after, Firkins apparently stopped breathing, officials said.

Efforts Monday to contact family and friends of Firkins were unsuccessful.

Online court records reveal a handful of past criminal convictions for Firkins, including a 2007 guilty plea to attempted grand theft in Cassia County. He was sentenced to three years in prison in that case, but the judge retained jurisdiction - giving Firkins a chance to complete an initial period of confinement and treatment - and released Firkins on probation six months later.

During the same period in 2007, Firkins also pleaded guilty in Cassia County to battery on a correctional officer or jailer, and waived an extradition hearing for unspecified charges in Wyoming, online court records show.

Firkins formerly lived in Burley, according to obituary information provided by the Twin Falls Times-News. A celebration of his life is planned for 3 p.m. Tuesday at Hansen Mortuary in Rupert.

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