LOWELL -- A man apparently in the throes of a suicidal cocaine binge died after he stripped naked, ran through a hotel restaurant trying to stab himself with a pen, and tried to electrocute himself during a struggle with police, authorities said.
"Apparently, there was a witness, a girlfriend, who has indicated to us that he took cocaine intravenously, and this may have created this bizarre behavior," said Deputy Police Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee.
Richard Wheeler, 33, of Lowell, went into the DoubleTree Hotel about 1 a.m. on Friday.
As he battled with police, authorities said, Wheeler tried to grab officers' guns, threw a coffee carafe at an officer, and exhorted police to shoot him. He also tried to stick his fingers in electrical sockets, police said. Three officers were injured, Lavallee said.
Officers eventually subdued Wheeler and loaded him, screaming and thrashing, into an ambulance bound for Saints Memorial Medical Center, where he later died. An autopsy was planned.
The death is being investigated by Lowell police and the Middlesex district attorney's office.