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Sword Attacker Dies Soon After TASER Hit

Sword Attacker Dies Soon After TASER Hit

The Virginian-Pilot via YellowBrix

December 14, 2009

HAMPTON, Va. — A sword-wielding man died early Friday, hours after Hampton police twice used a TASER on him.

It was the first such reported death since officers there began carrying the devices in 2003, said Paula Scheck, a Hampton Police Department spokeswoman. No deaths have been reported in the three South Hampton Roads cities that widely outfit officers with TASERs.

According to a news release from Hampton police, officers responded to a complaint involving an emergency custody order in the first block of Overlook Court about 11 p.m. Thursday. When the 36-year-old man refused to come to the door, police called one of his relatives, who came to the scene.

When officers entered the home, the man swung a samurai-style sword at them, police said. Officers used the TASER on him once, and a second time when he continued to threaten them .

The man stopped breathing, and officers called medics and performed CPR. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m., police said.

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Police identified the man as Hatchel Pate Adams III of Hampton. Officers involved were placed on administrative leave while the department conducts an internal investigation, according to the news release.

The Suffolk Police Department began carrying TASERs in June 2007. Norfolk added them in February 2008, followed by Virginia Beach this April.

Suffolk has said TASERs have resulted in fewer abuse complaints. But the conducted energy devices made headlines in Norfolk in October 2008 when a police officer used a TASER three times on a brain-damaged woman.

Amnesty International claims that more than 300 people have died after being struck with TASERs. The group says the devices were responsible in about 50 of those cases.

Drug intoxication accounted for most of the other deaths.

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