Naked man dies after being hit with Taser

December 24, 2008 2:54:12 PM PST
Harris County sheriff's deputies say a man died after they used their Tasers to detain him. The man was running naked through a north Harris County apartment complex at the time. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It was a sight so strange that eyewitnesses had to look twice and so disturbing that law enforcement was called out. Still, no one is sure why it ended with a man's death.

"Honestly, I was just tired," said witness Shawn Dunbar. "I thought I was just seeing things.

Dunbar did a double take.

"I saw a naked man just running," she said. "I was like, 'What?' And when I saw him, maybe I was seeing things."

But no. There was a nude man running around at 4am Wednesday, banging on car windows and apartment doors at the Trails at Dominion Grove apartment complex on Dominion near Kuykendahl.

"I was just like, this is crazy, and now when I come back, all the police are around and he was killed," she said.

The man died shortly after deputies used a Taser on him four times.

The man's antics caught the attention of residents who called 911. The final straw was when he barged into a woman's apartment.

"She repeatedly asked him to leave," said Sgt. Greg Pinkins with the Harris County Sheriff's Department. "He eventually left."

But next was a run-in with a sheriff's deputy. Investigators say the man climbed into the front passenger seat of a patrol car and wouldn't get out and the deputy hit him with a Taser. It had little effect. He tried again. But the man wasn't subdued until a second deputy arrived, and the man was hit with a Taser twice more.

"He resisted, resisted instructions, and resisted them and they had to resort to deploying a Taser," said Sgt. Pinkins.

Instead of going to jail, the man was taken to the hospital when he started having health problems. He died there and the entire incident is under investigation.

"He didn't seem like he was violent in any kind of way, like he was just running, like he was trying to defend himself," said Dunbar. "That's what I saw."

Dunbar admits she did not see the entire situation unfold, only part of it. And she did not see deputies shock the suspect with their Tasers.

The deputies are on administrative duty, as is procedure in a case like this. The medical examiner is working to determine the man's cause of death and investigators are still trying to contact his family. Right now, it doesn't look like he lived at the complex, and authorities aren't sure why he was there.

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