Oakland man dies at Santa Rita Jail within 28 hours of booking

A deputy walks in the reception center at Santa Rita Jail. Aug. 22, 2023 

A 53-year-old Oakland man died at Santa Rita Jail this week, about 28 hours after he was booked into custody.

Alameda County Sheriff's Capt. Tya Modeste identified the man as Eric Johnson. 

She said he was booked on Wednesday at about 1:30 a.m. after San Leandro police arrested him in connection with a car theft about midnight.

Johnson was sitting in a minimum-security setting in the new intake area, where he was the only one in his cell.

Deputies found him "unresponsive" in his cell about 5:15 a.m. on Thursday.

Medical staff tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m., Modeste said.

Johnson's cause of death has not been determined.

Johnson is the first in-custody death of 2024 and the 69th person to die at Santa Rita Jail since 2014. 

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