UPDATE: Man's death ruled homicide after May bar fight - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Man's death ruled homicide after May bar fight

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The Iowa Medical Examiner's Office has ruled a man who died in Dubuque Police Custody, died as the result of a homicide, but it doesn't mean it's a crime.

It happened in May at Shannon's Sports Bar.

Police were called after 43-year-old Chad Cupps allegedly went in there starting fights with people. "His behavior didn't change after they arrived," said Lt. Scott Baxter of the Dubuque Police Department. "He remained combative, would not follow their commands. They tried to use pepper spray. Ultimately, they were able to get him handcuffed."

Once in handcuffs, Cupps became unresponsive. According to the autopsy, he went into cardiac arrest. The report also states he had blunt force injuries to his head, and recently used amphetamine. 

The investigation is now in the hands of the Dubuque County Attorney's Office. They will decide if any charges will be filed. Also assisting with the investigation is the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Dubuque Police say they would like people to look at all the facts before forming an opinion. They hope to release more details once the case is closed. 

"The main thing to keep in mind here is homicide doesn't necessarily translate to murder...One example that comes to mind is somebody trying to defend themselves from serious injury or death," said Lt. Baxter.

Other forms of homicide include accidental death, negligent death, or even vehicular homicide. All of them are not illegal. 


The man's death has been ruled a homicide.  According to Dubuque Police, Cupps went into cardiac arrest after a fight involving other people.


It was an unexpected turn of events. A man died just moments after being arrested at Shannon's Sports Bar in Dubuque early Sunday morning.

Police identified him as 43-year-old Chad R. Cupps of Manchester.

They say he went in to the bar and attacked people.  "A subject came running into the bar, began assaulting people, taking alcohol and consuming it," said Mark Dalsing, Dubuque Police Chief.

That was when people inside held Cupps down on the ground until police arrived. During the fight, one of those people got injured. "I know at least one of the people suffered an injury during the course of the scuffles, but how many people he assaulted and who was all assaulted, I don't know," Dalsing said.

Police then took over, eventually using pepper spray on Cupps. "When we got there, there was kinda a scrum of people on the floor, so they had to try and separate to get to the individual who was on the bottom," Dalsing said. "As they went to put handcuffs on him, he began to kick and flight at officers."

Cupps then had trouble breathing and became unconscious. Dalsing says the encounter with officers was just a couple of minutes. 

The department is trying to find out what led up to his death, where he was before, and what he was doing inside the bar. "There's a lot of things that go wrong with individuals, physically,  emotionally. We don't know exactly what was going on with this situation," added Dalsing.

An autopsy is being performed, and authorities say they will know more once the results are back.

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