Oakland Man Found Dead in Santa Rita Jail Cell After Arrest on Suspicion of Vehicle Theft

Oakland Man Found Dead in Santa Rita Jail Cell After Arrest on Suspicion of Vehicle TheftSource: Google Street View
Eric Tanaka
Published on February 09, 2024

An Oakland man's brush with the law ended in tragedy after he was found dead in a jail cell at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. According to a report by CBS San Francisco, 53-year-old Eric Johnson was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft by San Leandro police shortly before the strike of midnight Tuesday. By Thursday morning, Johnson was discovered unresponsive, marking a swift and somber turn of events.

Following his arrest, Johnson was confined to a minimum-security area of the jail. An officer found him alone in his cell during a routine check around 5:15 a.m. Thursday. Despite attempts by deputies and jail medical staff, Johnson was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m., as detailed in a statement obtained by KRON4.

While the precise cause of Johnson's death remains under wraps, the Alameda County Medical Examiner's office is on the case to determine what led to the inmate's untimely demise. Johnson's next of kin has been notified of the unfortunate outcome. His death has incited an official investigation, with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spearheading the inquiry.

Johnson, whose last known residence was in Oakland, had been processed into the Santa Rita Jail early Wednesday, around 1:23 a.m. Although he faced accusations of stealing a vehicle, he never got his day in court. The Alameda County District Attorney and the California Attorney General's Office have been briefed on the sobering incident, per officials.