Our Friday blog "Tasers: They're Not Just for Summer Comedies Anymore" shared a carefully written release from the Aurora Police Department concerning the tasing of a man who'd led cops on a foot chase after they'd visited an apartment in search of Markus Alec Gabel, the subject of a felony warrant. The cautious tone makes sense, because the person who was tased, identified as Shane Ledbetter, died over the weekend at an area hospital.
Taser-related deaths aren't exactly unknown, as noted by the Electronic Village blogspot. A post about Ledbetter that includes a link to an online petition calling for congressional hearings into "taser torture" declares:
I have no idea why Ledbetter decided to run away. His sister says he was 'spooked'. He wasn't the subject of the police action in the home where he was found. Perhaps it was a guilty conscience for prior illegal acts. It doesn't much matter to me ... the penalty for running away from the police IS NOT DEATH. Why is our nation accepting these taser-related deaths that continue on a weekly basis? When will the Justice Department or Congress or the Surgeon General get engaged in this epidemic?
Look below for the latest two APD releases, as well as their aforementioned predecessor:
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DATE: September 6, 2009
NATURE: Officers Arrest Fugitive, Use Taser to Control Second
The fugitive arrested by Patrol officers on September 3, 2009 after a violent struggle died at a local hospital earlier today.
Shane Ledbetter ran from officers last Thursday after providing false information about his identity. After refusing to obey orders from officers, Ledbetter violently resisted when they caught up with him in a Mission Viejo park and attempted to arrest him. One officer deployed his taser so Ledbetter could be subdued and handcuffed.
Once handcuffed, the officers observed that Shane Ledbetter appeared to be unresponsive. They immediately started working to resuscitate him and called for Paramedics. He was transported to a local hospital where he remained.
As per policy in such an incident, Major Crimes/Homicide detectives have been actively investigating the incident since last Thursday. Ledbetter was found to be wanted on six felony warrants for his arrest, including one for Escape issued out of Jefferson County in 2004.
The Arapahoe County Coroner's Office will perform an autopsy on Ledbetter early this week, but a final determination on cause of death may take several weeks due to the amount of time it takes to get toxicology reports back.
The Aurora Police Officer injured during the foot chase/arrest remains on medical leave. Investigators are uncertain when he will be well enough to speak with them, but hope to complete an interview later this week.
Major Crimes/Homicide detectives will turn over their report to the Arapahoe County District Attorney's office when it is completed. In the meantime, investigators are keeping the District Attorney's apprised of developments in the case.
Information released September 4, 2009
Major Crimes/Homicide detectives are releasing the identity of the suspect who was tased yesterday afternoon after fleeing from and physically resisting officers.
Shane Ledbetter, DOB: 03.18.1971 was identified via his fingerprints. Investigators discovered Mr. Ledbetter has several felony warrants for his arrest, to include an Escape warrant issued out of Jefferson County in 2004.
An Aurora Patrol Officer was injured during the incident. He is at home on medical leave as a result of his injury.
Information released on September 3, 2009
On September 3, 2009, shortly before noon, Aurora Police Officers went to a residence in the 4000 block of South Mission Parkway in an attempt to locate a 19-year-old man wanted on several arrest warrants including a felony, statewide extradition warrant.
Officers arrived and were told the man they were seeking - Markus Alec Gabel, DOB: 09/2/1990 - was inside the residence. Officers entered the residence and contacted several people including the fugitive. Gabel was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Aurora Detention Center.
During the course of ensuing investigation, Officers found drug paraphernalia and issued a municipal summons to another individual in the residence.
While Officers were completing their investigation a man who had been talking with Officers suddenly fled on foot from the residence. Despite orders by Officers to stop the man continued to run. Officers pursued the man into a canal on the west side of Mission Viejo Park.
As Officers caught up to the man to take him into custody he became combative and was Tased by an Officer. Immediately after the man was placed in custody Officers noticed he had become rigid and unresponsive. Officers immediately performed CPR on the man and requested that Fire/Rescue respond to the park. The man was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.
During the foot chase and subsequent physical confrontation two Officers were injured. One of the Officers was transported from the scene by ambulance to a local hospital.
The Officer's condition is not being released.
The condition and the identity of the man who was transported from the park after being Tased is not known at this time.
Major Crimes Unit detectives are investigating this incident.