YORK COUNTY, SC — The suspect in a double homicide this past weekend is dead after he repeatedly injured himself while in jail early Sunday morning, according to the York County Sheriffs Office.
Coroner Sabrina Gast said an official cause of death will not be determined until after an autopsy is performed Monday.
Joshua Matthew Grose, 34, was pronounced dead at Piedmont Medical Center 3:05 a.m. Sunday after emergency workers transported him from Moss Justice Detention Center where he was being held on charges of murder, attempted murder and grand larceny.
Grose was arrested on Friday night in connection with the deaths of two women, one of whom was his mother. Police placed him in a cell where he immediately became self-destructive and combative, according to Trent Faris, public information officer for the sheriffs office.
Early Sunday morning, officers found Grose trying to drown himself in his jail cell toilet. He also had rammed his head against the cell wall a number of times, according to reports.
Faris said officers placed him in a restraint chair to calm him down, but Grose continued to resist, banging his head against the back of the chair.
Officers then placed a helmet on the suspect, but noticed cuts at the back of his head and called for medical help around 1:20 a.m., Faris said.
All our officers did exactly what they were supposed to do last night, Faris said during a Sunday afternoon press conference, adding that 20 officers were on duty at the time of the incident.
According to protocol, Faris said, the restraint chair is used for inmates who become a threat to themselves or others. Restrained inmates placed on suicide watch are checked on every 15 minutes by an officer who also ensures the inmate has proper circulation.
Grose is the second inmate who has died while in police custody at the detention center. Another inmate committed suicide six weeks ago in an unrelated incident.
Faris said that because the lacerations did not require stitches, Grose was not transported to the hospital at that time, but he was placed on suicide watch once EMS workers left.
EMS workers were called to the detention center again in an hour when Grose was found unresponsive.
Mr. Grose was so combative and aggressive, a full medical exam could not be performed, Faris said of the first visit by EMS workers. When EMS workers arrived a second time, Grose reportedly was in cardiac arrest.
Ambulance workers performed CPR en route to Piedmont Medical Center but Grose was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 3:05 a.m., according to Faris. Gast will perform the autopsy Monday.
The State Law Enforcement Division will investigate the incident.
Sheriff Bruce Bryant said there were no indications that the officers mishandled the situation. We have lots of people over there that are very aggressive when we bring them in, he said of other inmates. We did everything that we could possibly do.
According to police, Grose ran over a neighbor with her own vehicle on Friday night on Mt. Gallant Road in Rock Hill. Investigators said he was trying to steal the car.
Sandra Thomas, owner of the car, was found dead, lying in her yard. A second victim, Sandra Grose, mother of the suspect, also was pronounced dead at the scene in her own yard.
Both women died from blunt force trauma to the chest, according to Gast.
Officials have been unable to locate Groses next of kin. "We have exhausted every avenue that we can," Gast said.
Sandra Grose worked as a tax preparer but also was a martial arts instructor at American Martial Arts in Rock Hill, said Randy Cornell, owner of the karate school.
She had worked with Cornell for almost 20 years. He said that even the death of his own mother did not hit as hard as the death of Sandra Grose.
Sandy was a great person who would do anything for anybody, Cornell said. This whole thing has shocked all of us. Her students are heartbroken.
A third person, Curtis Alan Sisk, 60, was found bloodied at the scene of the accident and was taken to the hospital to be examined. Sisk lived in the Grose residence at Mt. Gallant Road, but the sheriffs office could not confirm whether he was related in any way to either the suspect or the victim.
According the police report, officers found Grose going out the back door of the family residence after he appeared to have just taken a shower. He was nude at the time of his arrest.