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California inmate dies after being struck by Taser gun
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08:12, October 15, 2007

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An inmate in a Southern California jail has died after being subdued by a Taser gun, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

The death of the 28-year-old transient was the second fatality associated with a stun gun since Sept. 9 in Orange County, Southern California.

He was scheduled to be released on Saturday, said Damon Micalizzi, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

The man's name was withheld pending notification of relatives.

The latest victim was incarcerated at Orange County Jail for drinking in public, authorities said.

Micalizzi said the incident occurred about 12:45 p.m. local time Friday when guards responded to reports of an inmate out of control.

"He was banging his head violently against the wall," Micalizzi said. "He was in a six-man cell, and the other five inmates panicked."

When deputies arrived, they removed him from the cell and tried to calm him down. Instead, Micalizzi said, "A confrontation ensued. He got violent. In order to handcuff him, they had to use the Taser. They put him in a restraining chair and escorted him to the nursing station. At some point, the inmate stopped breathing."

Emergency lifesaving measures were employed, and the man was rushed to St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, where he was pronounced dead about 1:44 p.m. local time, Micalizzi said.

"It's an unfortunate incident," he said. "We'll have to wait for a lot of investigations to take place before we can figure out exactly what caused the guy to do what he did."

No cause of death had been determined, and the matter was being investigated by the Orange County district attorney's office, a coroner's spokesman said.

The incident was reminiscent of the Sept. 9 death of a 25-year-old man suspected of beating his wife.

Officers who entered the apartment of Jorge Renteria Terrquiz shot him with a Taser after he attacked them, authorities said.

Terrquiz lost consciousness and was taken to hospital where he died.

That incident too is under investigation.

Tasers, commonly used by law enforcement agencies, employ compressed nitrogen to propel two darts attached by wire that deliver a 50,000-volt shock in five-second intervals to incapacitate a target.

Amnesty International reported this year that since 2001 more than 230 people have died in the United States after being struck with Tasers, though none of the deaths have been conclusively linked to the guns.

Source: Xinhua

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