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Dad in garda pepper spray death ran into shop naked and bleeding

A FATHEr-of-two who died following an incident in which he was pepper sprayed ran completely naked into a nearby shop with blood coming from his head.

Peter Sloane, owner of Sloane's Newsagents in Dundalk, said Mark Ward (32) was arrested shortly afterwards.

Mr Ward died after gardai used a pepper spray to restrain him. The incident occurred at around 9.45 on Tuesday night.

"He ran in completely naked and grabbed a greeting card to cover himself," Mr Sloane told the Herald. "He was very distressed and there was a lot of blood coming from his head.

"The gardai came then and arrested him. People here are completely shocked this morning as he comes from a respectable and quiet family."

Two investigations are being carried out into his death after he was pepper sprayed. He became unwell shortly afterwards and was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, where he was pronounced dead an hour later.

The death is being investigated by the Garda Ombudsman Commission as well as local detectives.

Today, a source explained that it was "extremely unlikely" that the pepper spray contributed to Mr Ward's death and that all the early indications are that gardai acted properly when apprehending him.

A major line in the investigation is whether Mr Ward had consumed drugs before he was arrested.

Sources say there "is information" that he did take drugs in the hours before his death. Mr Ward's mother Anne told the Herald: "We're devastated -- we're going through such a difficult time."