The Gwinnett County jail. TYLER ESTEP / TYLER.ESTEP@COXINC.COM

Gwinnett inmate died in custody after ‘medical emergency’

A 23-year-old man died after suffering a “medical emergency” at the Gwinnett County Detention Center, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office said.

Christopher Howard, of Flowery Branch, had been arrested for probation violation on Feb. 15, and was booked into the jail that night. Eight hours later, on Feb. 16,  he suffered a “medical emergency” and was transferred to Gwinnett Medical Center. He died on Feb. 17, according to an obituary.

A death investigation is underway but not yet complete, according to sheriff’s office spokesperson Shannon Volkadov. 

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Howard’s parents told the Gwinnett Daily Post that their son had a metabolic enzyme deficiency which required him to eat regularly. If he did not, his blood sugar could dip to dangerously low levels.

In a Facebook post, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department said that Howard was seen eating twice while he was at the jail and he was not deprived of food.

“The truth is that we don't know why 23-year-old Christopher Howard suffered a medical emergency less than eight hours after he arrived at our jail. No one knows yet,” the post says. “We do know, however, that our staff worked very diligently to save his life.”

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