Man Dies After Motor-lodge Incident

Posted: December 14, 1986

A motor-lodge guest who threatened police with a shard of broken glass, then jumped through a glass window in an attempt to escape from the lodge in the Northeast, died in a nearby hospital early yesterday, shortly after he was captured, police said.

The incident began about 11:45 p.m. Friday, when Dennis Myers, 35, the night manager at the Treadway Mohawk Inn in the 4200 block of Roosevelt Boulevard in Crescentville, telephoned police to report a disturbance inside the motel.

Myers later told police that a registered guest, Sherman Whiting, 34, had left his room carrying a small bottle of vodka and told him to summon police.

Before the police arrived, Whiting, of the 2500 block of North Sartain Street in North Philadelphia, had kicked open the room door of another registered guest and broken the glass of a fire extinguisher case in the hallway with the vodka bottle.

When police arrived, Whiting was in the hallway. He yelled that he had a gun, detectives said, then placed a hand inside his pants pocket as if the weapon were there. With his other hand, Whiting threatened the officers with a piece of broken glass, detectives said.

Suddenly, Whiting ran through the room whose door he had kicked open and jumped through the window and out onto the street several feet below, detectives said. Officer Mark West chased Whiting, catching up with him in the 4100 block of Roosevelt Boulevard.

It took at least four officers to "restrain and secure" Whiting, who was handcuffed and driven to the Northeast Community Center for Mental Health- Mental Retardation, detectives said. The center leases space on the grounds of Friends Hospital at Roosevelt Boulevard and Adams Avenue but is not connected to the hospital, according to hospital officials.

Inside the center, a physician demanded that Whiting first be treated at a hospital for a cut over his left eye before being admitted the mental health center, detectives said.

According to a police report obtained by The Inquirer, a preliminary investigation revealed that none of the officers struck Whiting with any ''instruments" during the arrest.

Detectives said Whiting began experiencing difficulty breathing at the center, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started. A fire rescue squad was summoned, and after preliminary treatment by the Fire Department paramedics, Whiting was rushed to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital at Langdon Street and Cheltenham Avenue where he was pronounced dead at 1:49 a.m. yesterday, detectives said.

Whiting's body was taken to the office of the Philadelphia medical examiner where an autopsy was scheduled.

Police said Whiting had used the alias Sherman Whitney in some previous contacts with police.

Detectives learned that an unidentified woman, believed to be Whiting's wife, Phyllis, ran from Whiting's room as police arrived. She was being sought for questioning yesterday.

Detectives said the room that Whiting kicked open was registered to Paul Schantz. He told investigators that he did not know Whiting and was asleep when the door was broken open.

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