Timothy Wayne Newton, 43, got into an argument at an EP Mart and Shell station on N.C. Highway 48 near Battleboro, witnesses told authorities. Witnesses said he later broke a window at the nearby GuestHouse International Inn before heading back to the gas station.
Police: Tasers Safest Option For Officers
Officers said they saw Newton hitting the store's windows and tried to talk to him. But he became upset and more violent as they approached him, and he started moving for Officer Teresa Lassiter, police said.
Officer James Whitted then used his Taser on Newton, police said.
"The subject continued to fight against the Taser. He got up and ran about 30 feet," Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley said.
Manley said the two officers caught up with Newton only after he collapsed.
Newton was transported to Nash General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Authorities said Newton was not staying at the motel. Manley said he believes drugs were involved in his behavior, but he declined to be more specific.
An autopsy is being performed on Newton to determine the cause of his death and if any drugs were in his system.
Whitted and Lassiter have been taken off patrol and assigned to administrative duties pending the outcome of the SBI investigation.
Manley said he believes his officers didn't use excessive force. He said the Taser is computerized, so investigators will be able to tell how many times it was used and how long the shocks lasted.
"This police department prides itself in doing what is right. We take necessary force when trying to arrest someone, but we don't go beyond that," he said.
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