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Handcuffed man runs from police, drowns after jumping into Boca Ciega Bay

An officer was walking the man to a van that would take him to jail when the man broke free.

TREASURE ISLAND — A man in police custody drowned in Boca Ciega Bay Sunday night after Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies said he broke free and jumped into the water.

Donnie Brownlow Jr., 33, was arrested by Treasure Island Police Officers after they responded to a domestic disturbance call around 7:40 p.m.

Police conducted an investigation and arrested Brownlow, of St. Petersburg, on charges of domestic battery, obstruction, felony driving while license suspended and violation of probation. He was transported to the Treasure Island Police Department at 180 108th Ave., where he waited for a van to take him to jail, deputies said.

An officer was escorting Brownlow to the van in handcuffs when he broke free, ran toward Boca Ciega Bay and jumped in the water, deputies said.

Paramedics from the Treasure Island Fire Department, which is attached to the police department, pulled Brownlow from the water and performed CPR. Brownlow was transported to the Palms of Pasadena Hospital, where he died around 9:40 p.m.

Detectives in the sheriff’s robbery and homicide unit are investigating the death because it occurred while Brownlow was in police custody.