Handcuffed man in police custody drowns after jumping into Boca Ciega Bay

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Donnie Brownlow Jr., age 33 of St. Petersburg, died in a drowning after police say he fled from custody and jumped into Boca Ciega Bay while in handcuffs.

According to detectives from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, at about 7:40 p.m. on Sunday, September 6, 2020, Treasure Island Police Department officers responded to 111 104th Avenue in Treasure Island, for a domestic disturbance.

Treasure Island Police Department officers conducted an investigation into the complaint and arrested 33-year-old Donnie Brownlow Jr. for Domestic Battery, Obstruction, Felony Driving While Licensed Suspended/Revoked, and Violation of Probation.

After officers took Brownlow into custody, he was transported to the Treasure Island Police Department located at 180 108th Avenue to wait for a jail transport van.

Detectives say while being escorted to the transport van and in handcuffs, Brownlow broke free from the officer, ran toward Boca Ciega Bay and jumped into the water.

Once paramedics from the Treasure Island Fire Department arrived, they pulled Brownlow from the water and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Brownlow was transported to the Palms of Pasadena Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at about 9:40 p.m.

The Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

Next of kin has been notified.

The investigation continues.

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