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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Teen shocked by taser died from change in heart rhythm

March 7, 2008


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Autopsy results released this week reveal why a 17-year-old who police shot with a Taser died in March.

Darryl Turner was in an altercation with his boss at the Food Lion on Prosperity Church Road in north Charlotte when someone called police. Police said he was highly agitated when an officer shot him with a Taser. Turner was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

Turner's autopsy says the stress of the situation and the shock from the Taser was too much for his body to handle. It says he died of acute ventricular dysrhythmia and ventricular fibrillation. In other words, his heart was pumping so fast and irregularly that he died.

The report states Turner did not have heart problems and he didn't have drugs in his system except for the medicines emergency workers used trying to save his life.

Turner's grandfather, Donald Fontenot, saw the report and said he's angry.

"Very much so. Why wouldn't I be? You know, you take a 17-year-old child away," he said.

Turner's family has not said whether they plan to sue police. They hired an attorney in March after a witness said Turner was obeying the officer’s commands when he was shocked. Police said Turner had been threatening the officer.

Police are doing their own internal investigation to see if the officer who used the Taser followed the rules. That officer is back on active duty after being put on administrative leave following the incident.

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