2nd person to die at Santa Rita Jail in 2 weeks

A man died at Santa Rita Jail last week – the second person to die there in less than two weeks.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office identified the man as Charles Johnson, 45, who they said died on Saturday after suffering a medical emergency at the jail the day before about 11:20 a.m. during the distribution of pills.

The official cause of death is not known at this point, but the sheriff does not suspect foul play. The Sheriff's Office said that Johnson's medical and mental history at intake showed did not present any red flags. 

Johnson died in Housing Unit 6, which is being used as a 5-day COVID quarantine intake area. He had been brought to jail on Jan. 27, for allegedly violating a protective order in Oakland. He was the only person in his cell. 

"This just shows how critical the nature of intake is," said Kara Janssen, an attorney at the law firm, Galvan Bien and Rosen, which has some oversight at the jail. "People are highly vulnerable. They need to be assessed for medical problems, withdrawal and mental illness. It's a really critical time."

On Jan. 17, Stephen Lofton, 38, who had a long history of struggling with substance abuse, died by suicide – also in Housing Unit 6. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@fox.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez