GBI investigating father’s death after encounter with Brunswick school resource officer

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Questions surround the death of a 38-year-old man who died after an encounter involving a Brunswick school resource officer.


Isaias Gomez Pena can be seen on the ground in a video sent to Action News Jax. Shortly after the encounter, he died from what the Georgia Bureau of Investigations called a medical emergency. It happened on Tuesday, outside Risley Middle School in Brunswick within 100 yards of the property and the Glynn County Police Department was also called to assist.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

The GBI is looking into the case and the use of force. The agency said he was in distress and during an encounter with law enforcement, he had some sort of medical emergency and ultimately died at the hospital.

Action News Jax law and safety expert, Dale Carson, spent decades with the FBI and law enforcement. He said school resource officers are trained to respond to anything out of the ordinary near school property.

“Anytime you have an encounter with someone who is having difficulty, not acting normally, that’s a normal police function and sometimes it leads to unintended consequences,” Carson said.

Pena was a father of a five, Action News Jax spoke with his family members off-camera, who told us he lived in the community across the street from the school and was being driven home because he was under the influence of alcohol. They said his driver pulled over because he desperately needed air, saying he has had heart issues in the past. Family members said he got out of the car to breath and that’s when the school resource officer came over.

Family claimed he was eventually thrown to the ground and tased and they believe he died of a heart attack. The GBI special agent in charge of the case told me right now there’s no evidence a taser was used, they also said a bystander was hurt with minor injuries after getting involved.

WATCH: Brunswick doctor killed in murder-suicide

“It’s okay, calm down,” someone can be heard saying.

“We need this hand,” another person said.

“I want to get him cuffs,” a school resource officer said, followed by Pena groaning.

“He can go to the hospital? What are you going to do?” a woman can be heard saying in the video sent to Action News Jax.

“Right now, we’re just trying to get him under control,” a school resource office said in the video.

In the video, you can see someone what appears to be fanning him.

READ: Georgia AG hosts roundtable discussion on combating gang violence in Brunswick

Carson called this a sad situation.

“Perhaps he had no intention of being near the school and was looking for assistance in his diminished capacity. We will find that out, the fact the GBI is investigating means there’s a bit more to the circumstances than we currently understand,” Carson said.

Family members said he never got in trouble. Action News Jax requested any potential criminal history and the only report we got back was when he a verbal argument led to him getting hit. Glynn County schools and the police department told Action News Jax they wouldn’t be commenting any further.

The GBI is asking anyone who was in this area around 2:30-3:00pm the day it happened to give them a call.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.

Comments on this article