Chris Burrous, a longtime anchor at KTLA in Los Angeles, and a former anchor at KGET in Bakersfield, died of methamphetamine toxicity while engaging in sexual activity, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
In an autopsy report released Friday, the medical examiner describes explicit sexual activity and the use of “rock” methamphetamine by Burrous, twice, previous to his death. In addition, Burrous, 43, “put on a mask and doused the filters with ’poppers,’” the report continues, referring to a slang term given broadly to amyl nitrate and similar drugs that are inhaled for recreational purposes.
Hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease also significantly contributed to Burrous’ death, the coroner’s office found.
“Autopsy revealed an enlarged heart, with coronary artery disease,” the report says. “Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) was also present. The liver and spleen were enlarged.”
While there was a concern for the presence of amyl nitrate (poppers) in Burrous’ system, toxicology testing did not confirm its presence.
Burrous’ death was determined to be accidental.
According to a coroner’s office investigator’s report based on information provided by a detective with the Glendale Police Department, Burrous checked into a hotel room “in person and alone” at a Days Inn in Glendale on Dec. 27.
“He met his male companion through a dating site, Grindr, and set up this meeting; reportedly the decedent and this companion had met up four previous times,” the report says.
The companion arrived at 12:30 p.m. and described the room as set up with lighting, a massage bench and other items.
During sexual activity, combined with the use of meth in rock form and poppers, the companion told investigators he noticed Burrous had vomited into the mask. After first calling an overdose hotline, the companion called 911 and administered CPR until a paramedic arrived.
Burrous was taken to a hospital for treatment but was pronounced dead a short time later.
Burrous had been a morning news anchor at KTLA since 2011. Prior to that, he worked as an anchor at KGET in Bakersfield from 1999 to 2004, according to the station. He also worked at other stations, including KGPE in Fresno
"Since joining the KTLA team in 2011, Chris Burrous did it all," the station said in a Facebook post. "He wore reporter, anchor and even meteorologist hats. His talent brought smiles to our faces when he kept it light on the KTLA 5 Weekend Morning News, and tears to our eyes while covering hard news.”
Burrous leaves behind a wife and a 9-year-old daughter.