GREENSBORO — A man who died Monday in police custody is suspected of "tearing up" his home before trying to force his way into a nearby house that had a family inside.
For roughly 10 minutes, Aaron Michael Andrews went on a rampage, throwing chairs and pretty much anything he could find at the front door of a house on Maybank Drive, in the southwest part of the city.
Greensboro police arrived and detained him, but not before he had frightened Jessica Taylor and her two children, ages 11 and 4.
According to a report obtained by the News & Record, police noticed Andrews was having difficulty breathing and called paramedics to evaluate and treat him.
But when EMS personnel tried to take Andrews to a hospital, he became unresponsive and later died, police said.
What caused his death is unknown, and police are saying little.
The incident is reminiscent of the case of Marcus Deon Smith, 38, who also died while in police custody in September 2018.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said Tuesday the city will ask a judge for permission to release any footage captured by the cameras that officers are required to wear in the hope that it may provide additional insight.
Still, what led the 35-year-old Andrews to the Taylor residence is a mystery that may never be solved.
A career criminal with a history of drug problems, he lived less than a mile away in a brick, one-story house he shared with three other men.
On Wednesday, roommate Paul Stevenson described Andrews as cordial and kind, but often nervous. He said Andrews would hear things that others didn't.
After learning about the Taylor house incident, Stevenson said he found a variety of medications in Andrews' room. Among them: anti-psychotics, anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
"I had some suspicions of his psychological state before that," said Stevenson, standing in his front yard. "I think that either he was having an adverse reaction to the medicine he was on or he had used some substance of some kind and that he was just delusional."
Stevenson said Monday began uneventfully. He walked to a nearby gas station on Gate City Boulevard to buy cigarettes for himself and Andrews, who had moved into the house a week earlier.
Stevenson passed Andrews on the way home and knew something was wrong. He was covered in "dirt, puke and sweat."
"He said someone had broken into our house," Stevenson recalled.
Andrews told Stevenson that he had fought the intruder, but couldn't provide more details.
Then he walked away. It was the last time Stevenson would see Andrews alive.
When Stevenson returned home, he found broken tables, chairs and dishes all over the kitchen.
By the time police were called, Andrews had already been detained by officers at the Taylor home.
Looking back, Stevenson believes the intruder was something Andrews imagined. He also thinks that the outburst at the Taylor house was actually a cry for help.
"I really don't think he meant anyone any harm," Stevenson said. "I think he was just terrified and knew something was wrong with his body or with his mental state."