Oklahoma police are investigating the circumstances behind an interaction this week that left a reportedly suicidal man dead after he caught on fire directly after a Taser was used on him.
As reported by NewsOK.com, two Lindsay police officers found the man, who had been reported missing by the Norman Police Department, inside a parked van on Tuesday. Lindsay city manager Stephen Mills said the officers were responding to a call of an armed man acting erratically and found him sitting in the vehicle with a container of gasoline.
When ordered out of the van, the man, whose name has not been disclosed, had a lighter in his hand. Not smelling gasoline at the time, which he had poured in the van, officers fired a Taser at the man after he refused to drop the lighter and turned to get back into the vehicle. The man caught fire while returning to the vehicle, which subsequently went up in flames.
Although the company that markets Tasers warn that use of such devices “can result in a fire or explosion when flammable gases, fumes, vapors, liquids, or materials are present,” Mills said he thought the officers acted within the scope of their training.
The two officers involved are on leave while the death is investigated in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.