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Coroner: Arvin karate instructor died during class from 'natural causes'

Posted at 8:31 AM, Sep 06, 2019


According to the Kern County coroner the 65-year-old karate instructor who died during a class last week, passed away from natural causes.

According to the Arvin Police Department, a 65-year-old karate instructor died during a class on Thursday evening.

A witness told authorities that a student was applying a "carotid" hold on Craig Garrett, who has been identified by his life-long friend, during a class demonstration at Bear Mountain Elementary cafeteria.

Leonard Rodriguez told 23ABC that he is a life-long friend of Garrett's and that there was no choke-hold involved leading up to his death.

"You can't choke him out," Rodriguez explained. "He's 6 ft 2 and he's been doing it for 45 years, so there's no way you could choke him. There was no choke-hold involved it was scrappling,"

Witnesses said they called 911 and when officers arrived they found Garrett un-responsive and immediately began CPR. The Kern County Fire Department and Halls Ambulance attempted to revive the instructor. Garret was pronounced dead around 9:20 p.m.

Rodriguez told 23ABC that the Garrett did have heart problems.

Rodriguez said sensi Craig had his esophagus dilated last Friday and that sensi Craig's wife told him that Craig had heart problems too.

No information has been released related to the person's age who was scraping with sensi Craig last night but according to the Kern County DA's Office if a death results by accident and misfortune with usual and ordinary caution, without any unlawful intent, it would be “excusable” and it would not be considered a crime.

We reached out to the Arvin Police Department to ask if the age of the person is being considered before possibly recommending charges and we have not heard back.

The autopsy will also likely take several weeks.

The investigation is ongoing.