Man Killed in California Mass Overdose Incident, Which Left 12 Others Hospitalized, Identified

The man who died in California over the weekend, in what police have called a mass overdose incident, has been identified as 34-year-old Aris Turner of Chico.

Turner died at the scene and at least a dozen others were transported to hospital for treatment after authorities responded to a 9-1-1 call on Saturday morning at around 9 a.m. local time. Upon arriving at the house where the overdose occured in North Chico's Santana Court, officers performed CPR on several people simultaneously and administered naloxone — medicine that treats narcotic overdoses in emergency situations — on six victims.

The head of the Chico Police Department Detective Bureau, Commander Ted McKinnon, told Newsweek on Tuesday that the incident occured during a house party.

"There were over a dozen people that were in the garage, and then, to some extent, outside the door of the garage into a side yard," McKinnon said. "At some point during this party that was occurring, people just started falling over and passing out. And then that's what prompted the phone calls to 9-1-1 which got the police there, followed by fire and then the medics."

Exposure to, and ingestion of, the deadly opioid fentanyl, mixed with another substance, is suspected to have caused the overdose, affecting both the victims and two officers who responded to the incident, Chico Police Chief Mike O'Brien revealed at a news conference over the weekend, before adding that all of the victims seemed to know each other.

"We don't know that fentanyl is definitely involved, we have some evidence items that we are going to send to a lab to be tested," McKinnon explained. "There's going to be an autopsy on the person that has deceased. Hopefully that'll give us confirmation as to what exactly they were using."

Four people were reportedly in critical condition, two in serious condition and several others in fair condition as of Saturday evening. McKinnon told Newsweek on Tuesday afternoon that they had all improved, with only a few remaining in care, and issued a warning to Americans amid the ongoing opioid crisis. "Illegal drugs are illegal for a reason. It causes damage, it's dangerous and when you start mixing drugs, it increases the danger, sometimes exponentially," he said.

Fentanyl is the most commonly overdosed drug in America. Based on data collected in 2017, the National Safety Council found that opioid deaths have risen to 1 in 96, which means for the first time in recorded history, the chances of an American dying from an overdose has exceeded the odds of death from a car accident.

File photo: A piece of police tape is strung across North Camden Street on June 24, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Monday, authorities identified the man who died on Saturday in what local police have described as a mass overdose incident in Chico, California. Getty/Stephen Maturen