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Hillsborough County inmate dies in hospital less than 24 hours after arrest

Booked on Friday on probation violation charges, 61-year-old Gerald Souders died on Saturday.
Gerald Michael Souders, 61, was hospitalized after an apparent drug overdose and died in sheriff's custody after he was booked into jail. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
Published Oct. 19
Updated Oct. 21

TAMPA — An inmate at the Falkenburg Road Jail died Saturday after he was rushed to Brandon Regional Hospital after a “medical episode” earlier that day, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Gerald Michael Souders, 61, spent less than 24 hours in the agency’s custody before a doctor pronounced his death at 2:18 p.m., his arrest records show.

The sheriff’s office released little information Saturday about Souders’ death, saying only that he suffered from a pre-existing condition and that his next of kin had been notified.

According to jail records, Souders was first arrested by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office after first responders were called to his home in Bradenton on Oct. 13. According to an incident report from the Manatee Sheriff’s Office, an unknown caller reported that a man was in cardiac arrest after suffering a drug overdose inside a home on 33rd Avenue E in the Kingston Groves neighborhood.

Emergency responders arrived at Souders’ the home about midnight and administered four milligrams of Narcan in two separate doses. Paramedics performed CPR for about 20 minutes to revive Souders, and by the time an ambulance arrived he was able to breath on his own, the report said.

Emergency responders from Southern Manatee Fire Rescue were already transporting Souders to nearby Manatee Memorial Hospital when they contacted the Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was sent to Souders’ home but no one was there, the report said, so deputies used prescription bottles found inside and the state’s Driver and Vehicle Information Database to identify Souders.

Multiple prescription bottles and “numerous” loose pills were confiscated by the Sheriff’s Office, the report said.

That’s how deputies learned of an outstanding Hillsborough County warrant for his arrest. In all, Souders had six outstanding warrants stemming from a 2012 arrest on multiple armed robbery charges. In September 2012, Souders was convicted of the charges and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released in April 2016, state prison records show.

But since then, Souders racked up three arrest warrants for probation violations, two for failure to appear at hearings and one for “failure to report.” Manatee County deputies arrested Souders, but allowed him to stay at the hospital because of his condition, the incident report said.

Souders was taken into custody just before 1:30 p.m. on Friday, transported to Hillsborough County by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and booked into jail at 4:12 p.m. that day.

Investigators with the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office have launched an investigation into Souders’ death, the agency said. The county Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to determine a cause of death.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story state incorrectly how Gerald Michael Souders was transported to Hillsborough County.


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