Terrell Day

Terrell Day

*An Indianapolis teenager has died in police custody after complaining of breathing problems following his arrest on suspicion of shoplifting.

Terrell Day, 18, died while in the back of an ambulance, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said Sunday.

Officers were called to a clothing store after reports of an alleged shoplifter pointing a gun and fleeing. Police found Day lying nearby with a handgun next to him and he surrendered, police said.

Following his arrest, Day told officers he was having trouble breathing and they called an ambulance.

Medical staff determined he could be transported to the city’s Arrestee Processing Center, but while in the back of a jail wagon, he complained of breathing problems again, The Associated Press reported.

Day’s condition deteriorated rapidly and, despite attempts to save his life, he passed away, police said.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office will determine his cause of death.

Homicide detectives and the crime lab are now investigating. “All the facts and circumstances regarding this incident will not be known until the conclusion of this investigation,” the department said in a statement.

Terrell Day

Terrell Day

Day’s mother, Shanika Askew, said her son did not have any health problems.

“I just want answers to why they didn’t send him to the hospital when he said he was hurting the first time,” Askew told WTHR. “Why did they leave and have to come back?”

She told the station that her son worked at Taco Bell and was finishing school.

“He could have went to jail, they could have did whatever they wanted to do, long as they could have took him alive,” she said.

Charles Miramonti, chief of Indianapolis EMS, said in a statement: “The Indianapolis EMS family would like to extend our sincere condolences. We have already launched a full internal investigation, and, at this time, are confident the highest level of response and care was provided.”

Watch NBC’s report below: