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Autopsy shows body builder killed by El Paso Police had steroids, bath salts in system

By Whitney Burbank, WhitneyB@kvia.com
Published On: Apr 18 2013 04:26:41 AM CDT
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 07:10:02 PM CST

ABC-7's Whitney Burbank reports

EL PASO, Texas -

Daniel "Danny" Saenz, the man shot and killed by an El Paso Police officer in March, had steroids and "bath salts" in his system, according to an autopsy report.

The toxicology findings detailed within the autopsy report range from caffeine to epitetestosterone, and even include traces of dimethylamylamine, the supplement commonly known as DMAA. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about DMAA last week. The FDA reports the drug, often found in workout-boosting products, may raise blood pressure and could even lead to heart attacks.

According to Annabel Salazar of the office of the El Paso County medical examiner, the DMAA found in Saenz's blood came from bath salts. Salazar said the concentration of DMAA is not quantifiable, but confirmed the steroids found in Saenz's system are at a "normal" level.

"I think (the concentration of DMAA) is quantifiable, but I'm a bio analyst, I think everything is quantifiable," said James Li, an assistant professor in UTEP's department of chemistry. "These have a concentration and if it's over a certain amount then they would cause some toxicity," said Li as he reviewed the toxicology portion of the autopsy report. "And the concentration from those are pretty high."

ABC-7 asked Li if the chemical cocktail found in Sanez's blood and urine could cause heightened aggression. "I think so," Li replied. "If you get too much of these chemicals in your system then, it's possible."

The report reveals Saenz died of a "close range gunshot wound to the left shoulder with penetration into the chest cavity."

El Paso Police said in March that Saenz was handcuffed the night of March 8 when he became violent and aggressive with the policeman escorting him out of the El Paso County Jail in Downtown.

The police officer then shot Saenz, according to a police news release.

Saenz was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Gym personnel at the EP Fitness on James Watt in East El Paso told ABC-7 on March 12 that Saenz, 37, was kicked out of the gym three before for throwing weights and flipping over a treadmill. They also said that he was a former Mr. El Paso.

After the incident, employees say they were instructed to remove Saenz's bodybuilding photo from the gym's "Wall of Fame."

Saenz had an extensive arrest record, dating back years for violent crimes.

Saenz had been arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, family violence and assault of an elderly, to name a few.

The officer-involved shooting is currently under investigation by several law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers.

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