More Tests Needed to Verify Sledge Hammer's Cause of Death

LOS ANGELES—The Huffington Post is reporting that an unidentified source within the Los Angeles Department of the Coroner has informed the news site that more testing is necessary to determine the cause of death of former porn performer Marland Anderson, aka Sledge Hammer, who died last Sunday in a hospital after being Tasered and then physically subdued by several Los Angeles Police officers the previous Friday after his girlfriend called 911 to report his extreme anxiety attack.

"The autopsy was conducted Tuesday but the cause of death has been deferred, pending tests that could include toxicology, histology, pathology or collection of investigative reports, according to a source who did not want to be named at the coroner's office," reported HuffPo.  

However, the source also indicated that the circumstances surrounding Anderson's death have made this a high profile case, adding that as a result the coroner will "cover all bases" before it issues its final report. That happens "even if it’s a bullet to the head," the source added.

Despite an ongoing investigation into the incident by LAPD's Force Investigation Division, the results of which could take up to a year, a department spokesperson has been providing the mainstream media with what is presumable the responding officers' version of events, the description of which gets more detailed with each telling.

Wednesday's HuffPo article contained the following account of the incident:

Los Angeles Police Department Lieut. Andrew Neiman told HuffPost that police were responding to a suicide attempt report at 3:24 a.m. on April 8 in the Reseda area when they encountered a distraught Anderson. When they arrived, [Anderson's girlfriend, Alexa] Cruz told police that Anderson had tried to hurt himself with a knife, and she had struggled with him for it, according to Neiman.

Officers requested an ambulance for assistance in transporting Anderson to the hospital for an examination. Police handcuffed Anderson's hands to a gurney in the ambulance "for his safety and for the safety of others," according to Neiman.

While en route to the Northridge Hospital, Anderson started exhibiting "bizarre behavior," Neiman said, adding that the actor tried to stand up in the ambulance and eventually was able to break one of the handcuffs.

The officer in the ambulance tried to control Anderson by "bear-hugging" him, according to Neiman, but Anderson was able to break the gurney free from the locking system in the ambulance. At that point, Anderson was standing up, with one arm attached to gurney and "swinging the gurney around," Neiman said. The ambulance pulled over so that the officer's partner who was tailing it could assist.

The officers were unable to control Anderson so they pressed a Taser against Anderson once, Neiman said. "It was ineffective. There was no response." So the officers called for backup, and six to eight additional officers responded; they released Anderson from the gurney and took him outside of the ambulance, Neiman added.

"Again, because of his strength and size, they were not able to control him," Neiman told HuffPost. "They attempted another contact Tasing, which was again ineffective. Ultimately, they were able to control him with body weight and firm grips." At that point, the officers put Anderson back in ambulance and transported him to the hospital.

Hospital staff later told Cruz that Anderson arrived in full cardiac arrest and fell into a coma from which he never revived. Damage to his brain had been so extensive, they said, that he might never fully recover. The decision was reportedly made by his mother on Sunday to take him off the respirator.