Identity of man who died after Taser use is released

August 22, 2007

Baltimore police have released the identity of a suspect who died after he was incapacitated with a Taser during an incident in West Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood early Saturday morning.

Police said Thomas Campbell, 50, of the 1000 block of McAleer Court was pronounced dead at Bon Secours Hospital shortly after he was subdued with a Taser, a device that delivers a 50,000-volt shock.

Officers apprehended Campbell after receiving a report that a man was running amok in the 1000 block of N. Payson St.

Police say they have used Tasers 14 times this year, and Campbell is the third fatality.

Another man died in Baltimore County after being subdued with a Taser. Sterling Clifford, city police spokesman, said autopsy results were not in and that the cause of Campbell's death had not been officially determined. Campbell resisted arrest and was shocked twice with a Taser.

Officers were called after a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. worker called 911 to report a man climbing on his truck, screaming and behaving erratically, police said.

Before officers arrived, the man jumped off the truck and ran into the Sandtown Nursing Home and into the basement. Nursing home officials also called police, who confronted the man in a small room, police said.

The man was throwing furniture as officers tried to arrest him. "He was fighting back fiercely," said Officer Troy Harris, a police spokesman.

Clifford said a lieutenant assigned to the Northern District used a Taser on the man, slowing him enough for an officer to get one of his wrists into handcuffs.

"He broke free and continued to show aggression," Clifford said. "He was fighting pretty hard. He had one handcuff on and was in close quarters."

Police said the lieutenant used the Taser on him again, and officers were able to get him into custody.

A few minutes later, Clifford said, the man "started to show signs of distress," and paramedics were summoned.

Clifford said officers use Tasers as an alternative to lethal force.

"Take away the Taser and the options left are the baton or a firearm," he said.

Harris said the lieutenant who used the Taser had been recertified in the use of the weapon before the fatal incident.

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