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AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Houston police are investigating the deaths of two suspects in their custody in the past 10 days, incidents that have come as national attention has been focused on Texas police after a black woman was found hanged in a jail cell in a nearby county.
One of the two who died was white and the other was an African-American, according to the local medical examiner.
In the most recent incident, a 29-year-old woman charged with public intoxication was found unresponsive on Sunday as she was being booked at a Houston jail. The woman later died at a hospital, Houston police said on Tuesday.
"As is customary in in-custody deaths, this incident is being investigated by the Houston Police Department Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions," it said.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said the woman was Jami Gaubatz, with her race listed as white.
An autopsy was being performed and results have not yet been released. Police said jail personnel tried to perform CPR on the woman but did not provide further details of the death.
In the other Houston incident, a man who police said showed sign of mental distress was seen by an officer at a Houston convenience store on July 18 bleeding from his head, police said.
Police tried to get medical help for the man who later charged the officer, leading to a struggle. After police backup arrived, the man was apprehended and placed in an ambulance for treatment.
He became unconscious in the ambulance and was pronounced dead at a Houston hospital, police said.
The man was 59-year-old African-American Billy Davis, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said.
The most prominent incident in Texas this month has been the death of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old black woman, in Waller County, about 50 miles northwest of Houston.
Bland was found hanged in a county jail cell days after her July 10 arrest following a minor traffic offense, an incident activists have said is yet another example of police brutality toward minorities.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, there have been over 600 fatal police encounters in the United States this year.
"Deaths in police custody are often associated with excessive force, medical neglect, or failure to prevent suicide, and they are more common than they should be," said Matt Simpson, senior policy strategist for the ACLU of Texas.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott and Lisa Lambert