38-year-old father dies after encounter involving GA school resource officer

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is working to learn the details surrounding the death of a man after an encounter with a school resource officer.

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On May 21, a Glynn County School Resource Officer was made aware of a distressed person on South Port Parkway.

It happened outside Risley Middle School in Brunswick within 100 yards of the property and the Glynn County Police Department was also called to assist.

In a video sent to our sister-station Action News Jax, Isaias Gomez Pena, 38, of Brunswick can be seen on the ground. Shortly after the encounter, he died from what the GBI called a medical emergency.

The GBI said there was an interaction between the SRO and Pena, which led to more police officers responding to help the SRO.

Pena was a father of five, Action News Jax spoke with his family members off-camera, who told them 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 had had heart issues in the past. Family members said he got out of the car to breathe and that’s when the school resource officer came over.

Pena’s 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 Action News Jax there’s no evidence a Taser was used, they also said a bystander was hurt with minor injuries after getting involved.


“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 officer said in the video.

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

Family members said he never got in trouble. Action News Jax requested any potential criminal history and the only report they got back was when 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.

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Pena was taken to Southeast Medical Hospital where he later died. A GBI Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy.

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

Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling 1-800-597-8477, submitting a tip online, or downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.

The GBI will conduct an independent investigation. The case will be given to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review once the investigation is complete.


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