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Friday, September 19, 2008

Peel stun gun victim was grieving dead sister

September 19, 2008
Bob Mitchell, Toronto Star

A Brampton man who died about 12 hours after being Tasered by police was mourning the death of his sister, friends say.

Sean Reilly's sister died about two weeks ago from sleep apnea.

"His sister's funeral was just over a week ago," said a family friend, who contacted the Star after learning of his death. "He was very close to her ... I know he was having a very hard time with her death."

The carpenter, who was single, was rushed to hospital after being Tasered during a struggle with four Peel officers at the 12 Division police station at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

He died about 4:45 a.m. at Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga.

After spending two days in seclusion, Reilly's family issued their first public statement through their lawyer yesterday.

"Sean Reilly was a much loved son, brother and uncle," it began. "He was a gentle and non-violent man who was well-liked by all who knew him. He was funny, compassionate and quietly sensitive. He was artistic and skilled with his hands and was a reliable contractor. His family misses him terribly."

The 42-year-old was fit, but not a big man and had no known health issues, it continued.

"The Reilly family is very concerned to find out exactly how Sean came to his death. They are concerned about Sean's treatment while he was in the custody of the Peel Regional Police and, in particular, they are concerned that Sean was subjected to electric shock by a Taser stun gun," it said.

The province's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) is now probing the incident to see whether criminal charges are warranted. Until their investigation is completed, no information about what happened will be released officially.

But a police source has told the Star that officers went to a home on Runningbrook Dr. in Mississauga just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday after receiving a call about a suspected impaired driver.

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