ELK GROVE -- Alex is 18 years old. He has the body of a man, but the mind of a toddler.
He is relaxing and recovering after his mom says Elk Grove police officers and a K-9 left the autistic young man bloodied and bitten.
Saturday, Alex wandered away from his family's Elk Grove home and into another house. Police say the neighbors called 911.
"The residents were fearful for their safety, not knowing who this person was," said Officer Chris Trim with the Elk Grove Police Department.
Trim says Alex started resisting when officers tried to detain him.
"The individual was moving his arms, resistive, would not allow the officer to handcuff him," Trim said.
Trim insists officers had no way to know the young man was severely autistic and non-verbal.
"In an officer's mindset, you don't know who this person is, you don't know why he's resistive," Trim said.
Handcuffed in an ambulance, Alex was taken to the hospital and place on a psychiatric hold. Then released.
"It was scary, yeah, hurtful," said Alex's mother, Leslie Mantalvanos.
For his mother, it's a heart wrenching ordeal seeing her son confused and hurt -- wishing things played out differently.
"I don't understand why they would put so much force on somebody, he's not violent," Mantalvanos said.
For officers, it's also difficult.
"Its a very tough situation for law enforcement to deal with," Trim said.
As the Elk Grove Police Department's use of force committee reviews the altercation, Alex is recovering.
"He's not himself right now," his mom said.
She hopes the case highlights the need for more awareness about people on the autism spectrum.
"Maybe become a little more aware of somebody like Alex," Mantalvanos said.