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Jul 22, 2011 6:53 AM by Kate Richards

Denver Zoo death

DENVER (AP) - Denver Zoo officials say a Denver man who died after an altercation with security guards and police was irrational, claimed he was a lion and knocked over trash cans.

Officials said Thursday the incident started when a zoo staffer contacted security to say a man appeared to be passed out near the elephant exhibit. They said when a security officer approached 29-year-old Alonzo Ashley Monday, he wouldn't answer but then said several times that he was a lion.

Officials say Alonzo also yelled at his girlfriend. Police officers called to the zoo said Ashley bit one of them and resisted them.

They say Ashley convulsed and stopped breathing. He died at the hospital.

Autopsy results are pending.

Ashley's girlfriend tells KMGH-TV he appeared to be suffering from heat distress.

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