Philip Seymour Hoffman dead: Four people arrested as police investigate actor's death from suspected drug overdose


Click to follow
The Independent Online

As police pushed forward with their investigation of the death last Sunday of Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose, sources revealed that four people had been taken into custody after a raid at several Manhattan locations late on Tuesday night.

The arrests came as officials announced that an autopsy on the body of the actor had so far been inconclusive and more tests were necessary before an official cause of death would be determined. They would offer any further details or say when they expected to release a final determination of what caused him to die.

Mr Hoffman, the Oscar-winning film actor an director, was found dead on the floor of his Greenwich Village on Sunday with a syringe in his arm and surrounded by packets of heroin. His death has raised questions not only about his behaviour leading up to it but about the levels of help available to those struggling with addiction and the lack of awareness of how widespread a problem heroin has become again.

In the meantime, it was apparent that the tragedy had spurred an unusual zeal on the part of the New York police department to try to find those who sold him the drug. It is unusual for arrests to be made in such a case since the courts have established that in cases of a lethal overdose dealers cannot be prosecuted.

Sources told the Associated Press that the four arrests came after police executed search warrants on Tuesday night at several New York City apartments acting on tips given to them by an unidentified source. 

Detectives were believed to have found records of Mr Hoffman taking $1,200 in six withdrawals from a supermarket cashpoint near his home the night before his death. They are meanwhile trying to get a full picture of his movements that night from video camera surveillance footage in the neighbourhood.

The New York Post identified one of those arrested as a 57-year-old man and cited a step-daughter confirming he had been selling drugs, that he had known Mr Hoffman “for months” but had not sold him the drugs that killed him. “He had nothing to do with what killed him,” the woman said.  She would not confirm or deny that Mr Hoffman might have been one of his clients. “I’d rather not say. It’s my father, so I can’t.”