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Applebee’s theft suspect who fled dies at hospital, cops say

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Hours after running from Nassau County police officers after skipping out on a bill at an Applebee's restaurant in Elmont, Marlon S. Paton, 20, of Brooklyn, had an apparent "medical emergency" and was pronounced dead at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

A Brooklyn man had an apparent “medical emergency” and died Wednesday morning in Nassau County police custody at a hospital, hours after he ran from officers after skipping out on a restaurant bill in Elmont, police said.

Marlon S. Paton, 20, of Decatur Street, was pronounced dead at Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream at 10:47 a.m., police said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

“It looks like a medical emergency,” said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, the commanding officer of the Public Information Office. “He was a large male. He did state that he was feeling ill but that’s all I can say right now.”

LeBrun said the department’s Homicide Squad is investigating. The Internal Affairs Bureau is not investigating “at this point,” LeBrun said. He said an autopsy is being performed.

Police did not give a cause of death, but said when they took Paton into custody after chasing him on foot through backyards, he became “lethargic and unsteady on his feet and displayed signs and symptoms that would indicate some type of medical distress.”

LeBrun said police did not use a stun gun and officers did not use any physical force against Paton, who stopped running from police when they caught up with him.

“He listened to the verbal commands and he stopped,” LeBrun said.

Paton was “placed into the rear of a police vehicle to keep him more comfortable and to further monitor his condition,” said LeBrun, who said a police ambulance arrived “a short time later” and transported him to the hospital.

Citing HIPPA laws, LeBrun said he could not say whether Paton, who was conscious during the ride to the hospital, had any underlying medical conditions.

The alleged restaurant theft was reported to police by the manager of an Applebee’s restaurant on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont. The manager approached Fifth Precinct officers on patrol in the restaurant parking lot at 12:43 a.m. and “pointed out three individuals” in a gold Chevrolet Malibu in the lot and “stated that they had left the restaurant without paying their bill,” police said.

The officers then saw the vehicle’s headlights turn off and drive out of the parking lot “over a curb, bushes and the sidewalk.”

The Malibu, heading westbound on Hempstead Turnpike, then hit a guardrail at a gas station at Fieldmere Street, police said.

Three men, including Paton, then took off running from the car, police said.

Kristofer Pettway, 20, of Fieldmere Street in Elmont, was placed into custody at Warwick Road and Hempstead Turnpike, police said. Marquis Bernard, 21, of New Jersey Avenue in Brooklyn, was placed into custody in the backyard of a residence on Warwick Road, police said.

Bernard “ignored” verbal commands from officers to stop and resisted arrest as he attempted to jump over a fence, police said.

Paton ran into the backyards on Fieldmere Street and and “attempted to jump over another fence when he was placed into custody,” police said.

Pettway and Bernard are charged with theft of services. Additionally, Bernard is charged with resisting arrest. They are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead.

Gas station attendant Nedim Sirin wasn’t working at the time but said he viewed surveillance footage, that has since been turned over to police, that showed the vehicle smashing into a metal barrier near the pumps and the three men taking off on foot. Police arrived about a minute later and gave chase.

“They ran,” said Sirin, of Amityville. “Two of them went that way. One of them went the other way.”

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