06/20/2007

Man shocked by TASER catches fire

The Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Tex. Authorities were investigating Tuesday whether a Taser stun gun police used to try to subdue a man who doused himself in gasoline caused him to ignite in flames.

The man was hospitalized after the Monday incident in his backyard, but his condition wasn't immediately available Tuesday. No one else was injured.

Police said they used pepper spray while trying to take the man into custody before using the Taser, an electric stun gun designed to help officers subdue violent suspects.

Before officers fired the Taser, the man tossed gasoline on one of them, San Angelo police Chief Tim Vasquez said.

The Texas Rangers were investigating whether a lighter that was on the porch could have contributed to the fire and whether a Taser can ignite anything, Lt. Bob Bullock said.

"We don't know what ignited the fire," police Lt. Curtis Milbourn said Tuesday.

Police declined to identify the man. It was unclear whether he had been charged with anything.

Two of his sons who live nearby said their father had been threatening for months to burn himself and his house. His wife was seeking a divorce and he didn't want to have to leave the house, the sons said.

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