Twenty-nine-year-old George Zapantis suffered a fatal heart attack after he was tasered twice by arresting officers in his Whitestone, NY home on Sunday, June 21.
Officers from the 109th Precinct responded to a 911 call at around 9:30 pm from a neighbor who reported that George Zapantis was armed with a gun. Upon their arrival, authorities found Zapantis in his basement dressed as a gladiator, wearing a helmet and wielding a samurai sword.
Police say that Zapantis refused to comply with the officers’ orders to put the sword down, who began to approach them with the weapon in his hand.
As a result, authorities used their department-issued tasers to subdue Zapantis inside the house and take him into custody. A neighbor also shot a video showing George being tasered again while struggling again with police outside the residence.
According to authorities, George Zapantis went into cardiac arrest after being tasered by the officers and suffered a fatal heart attack.
EMS personnel transported Zapantis to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Medical examiners are still working to establish the exact cause of death of the 29-year-old victim.
George’s mother, Athanasia Zapantis, was inconsolable as she mourned the death of her son, who suffered from bipolar disorder. She told interviewers from the New York Daily News that the neighbor who had made the 911 call would allegedly harass George constantly, on a daily basis.
The family’s upstairs neighbors, Ricky Noble and his daughter Shakira, confirmed that George Zapantis was a good church-going man who supported his mother while taking care of his 33-year-old sister, who has Down syndrome.
Athanasia Zapantis expressed her frustration as to why a social worker wasn’t called instead of the police to deescalate the situation. She told local authorities that she plans to move out of the neighborhood soon since her memories there are now too painful.
An investigation by the New York Police Department’s Force Investigation Division remains ongoing at this time.