Firm: At least 15 peo­ple have caught fire af­ter Taser stun

Manteca Bulletin - - Nation -

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The maker of Tasers said Mon­day that at least 15 peo­ple have caught fire, and five have died, af­ter be­ing stunned while near flammable ma­te­ri­als, sim­i­lar to an Oklahoma man who was burned be­yond recog­ni­tion af­ter he was shocked and re­port­edly got into his gaso­line-soaked van.

Axon spokesman Steve Tut­tle said the deaths in­clude the man shocked Nov. 7 by a po­lice of­fi­cer in the town of Lind­sey, about 45 miles (72 kilo­me­ters) south of Oklahoma City, al­though au­thor­i­ties say they are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the man may have lit him­self on fire.

“We’ve seen it hap­pen,” Tut­tle said. “It’s hap­pened about 15 times in 24 years ... out of about 3.5 mil­lion field uses” of the de­vice, known as a con­ducted elec­tri­cal weapon, or CEW.

“It’s a known sit­u­a­tion. Thank­fully it’s been a very rare event,” Tut­tle said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say the man in Oklahoma who caught fire was armed with a gun and was also car­ry­ing a lighter. An of­fi­cer stunned him with a Taser, but the man man­aged to fight his way back into his van, where he burst into flames. Au­thor­i­ties say they’re still try­ing to de­ter­mine whether the man used his lighter to start the fire or whether the Taser was the cause.

Scotts­dale, Ari­zona-based Axon notes on its web­site that a Taser can cause flammable ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing gaso­line, to catch fire.

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