Autopsy results show man killed by Taser

Paul Roberts/Staff Writer
Issue date: 4/26/06 Section: News
The results of the autopsy of Juan Manuel Nunez III were released Tuesday stating his death was caused by “acute alcohol intoxication and concussive brain injury complicated by post traumatic apnea.”

The results state Nunez’ death was caused by a brain injury when he collapsed after being Tased, by Lubbock police officer Matt Dougherty, said Robert Byers of the Lubbock Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Lubbock Medical Examiner’s Office did rule the Taser shock as “contributory towards his death,” Byers said.

His manner of death was classified as a homicide.

Lt. Roy Bassett of the Lubbock Police Department said the next step is an administration investigation.

“We want to make sure this was a justified homicide,” Bassett said. “We believe it is; we just need to double and triple check.”

After LPD finishes its investigation, police will hand it over to the District Attorney’s Office for the third check, he said.

The autopsy results were found only after the Medical Examiner’s Office had a chance to review all available information from available medical history, investigative information and the actual audio portion of the encounter between law enforcement and Nunez.

It began with one 911 hang-up call. Police responded to the call at 4402 Jarvis St. April 16.

When police arrived at the scene, they observed what was believed to be a domestic dispute between 26-year-old Nunez and his family. The police officer reportedly attempted to detain Nunez, but he refused and allegedly became violent, LPD officer Chris Powe said.

The officer shocked Nunez with his Taser and arrested him.

“After Nunez was in handcuffs, the officer realized Nunez appeared distorted and immediately called the EMS,” Powe said. “Once he arrived at the UMC Emergency Room, he was pronounced dead.”

Nunez’ death has created concerns locally about the safety of Tasers.

Nationwide, people are asking whether shock guns are the reason of more than 150 deaths.



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