Gulf War veteran who was arrested in Berkeley died after fight at Santa Rita Jail
By Emilie Raguso
April 5, 2019
Hermon also struggled with PTSD from his time in the military, she said: “We all struggle with our demons, and I know that Michael had his.”A 47-year-old Gulf War veteran with a PhD in philosophy, who was arrested in Berkeley in February, died one month later after a brief altercation in jail, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s office.
Michael Hermon. Photo: Kat Alexander
According to Hermon’s Facebook page, he was a combat engineer in the U.S. Army working in explosive ordnance disposal. These soldiers are described online as “the Army’s preeminent tactical and technical explosives experts.” He served during Operation Desert Storm, according to his family.
Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly told Berkeleyside that Michael Hermon was punched once in the nose during the fight March 13. When he didn’t stop bleeding, Hermon was taken to Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare in Livermore. At some point, Hermon stopped breathing and was placed on life support. He later died.
Hermon was due to be transferred out of jail to a diversion program for veterans, Kelly said. But the transfer had not happened yet due to lack of space. Kelly said Hermon’s cause of death has not been determined, but that authorities will look closely at his medical history, as well as any medical procedures that took place in the hospital, as part of the autopsy report: “It was a very unusual situation and a very unfortunate one for this family,” he told Berkeleyside. “It’s just a very bizarre series of events.”
Meanwhile, friends told Berkeleyside they are struggling to make sense of Hermon’s death.
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