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Update: Man who died after Taser use identified

A man died Sunday after an officer-involved Taser incident in Gulfport outside Shaggy's restaurant at U.S. 90 near 15th Street.
A man died Sunday after an officer-involved Taser incident in Gulfport outside Shaggy's restaurant at U.S. 90 near 15th Street. rfitzgerald@sunherald.com

GULFPORT -- The man who died after a police officer subdued him with a Taser on Sunday has been identified as Bradford Macomber, 53, of Gulfport.

Harrison County Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove released Macomber's name Monday and said an autopsy is pending.

Hargrove said it's unlikely he will release the cause of death because the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is performing an independent investigation.

A police officer subdued him with a Taser at a beachfront restaurant in Gulfport, police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said.

It happened at Shaggy's Gulfport Beach bar and grill, which opened a few weeks ago on U.S. 90 and 15th Street.

Macomber is believed to be the third person in Mississippi to die after an officer-involved Taser incident since 2010.

McDaniel said police went to Shaggy's about 4:27 p.m. Sunday after the restaurant asked for help with an erratic man who was inside the business.

The man was outside the restaurant when officers arrived, and he became "resistive" as officers tried to investigate the complaint, McDaniel said.

An officer deployed his Taser to subdue the man, he said, and the man was handcuffed. His erratic behavior continued, McDaniel said, and American Medical Response ambulance service was called to the scene. The man was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Shaggy's has an elevated restaurant with a front deck and a wooden bridge extending to a covered outdoor bar. Police have not said where the incident happened outside.

McDaniel said he wasn't sure if the officer who deployed the Taser would be placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

He said any further questions should be directed to the District Attorney's Office in Gulfport or the MBI.

District Attorney Joel Smith said personnel from his office "accompanied MBI to Shaggy's." He said he can't discuss details because of the pending investigation.

The MBI does not discuss officer-involved deaths with the media, but forwards its findings to the DA's Office. A grand jury then reviews the findings to determine if an officer's actions were justified under the circumstances. It often takes months before an officer-involved case is presented to a grand jury.

Officials are releasing no other details at this time.

About stun guns

Gulfport police and all other local law enforcement agencies in South Mississippi use some type of stun gun.

Gulfport police use the Taser, the most commonly used nationwide, according to a U.S. Justice Department report.

Tasers and other stun guns are considered less-than-lethal weapons. The device discharges 50,000 low-amperage volts of electricity. It can be used one of two ways.

A Taser has cartridges that shoot two barb-like probes that can penetrate skin and deliver a shock, temporarily immobilizing a person. It also can be used as a "drive stun" by placing it directly against a person's skin. That technique is recommended by the manufacturer for use in close contact or confined areas.

Tasers in Gulfport

Gulfport police always call an ambulance and have medical personnel remove the Taser's barbs, Police Chief Leonard Papania told the Sun Herald in November during a survey of Taser use in South Mississippi.

Taser deaths

Two men have died in Mississippi after being tased.

Blaine McElroy, 37, died after he was stunned by a Jackson County deputy Nov. 27, 2010. The sheriff at the time said McElroy had been threatening a woman and children with a pipe wrench in Gulf Park Estates, and bit a deputy while refusing to get in an ambulance.

Authorities said McElroy died of a cocaine overdose.

Jermaine Williams, 30, died July 23, 2010, after a Cleveland police officer stunned him with a Taser. Officers were trying to arrest him when he grabbed a bag of suspected cocaine off the top of a vehicle and ran.

A lawsuit was filed in the Williams death. A federal judge in north Mississippi dismissed the lawsuit. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2013, upheld the judge's decision.

SunHerald.com will update this report as details develop.

Lauren Walck, Sun Herald assistant city editor, contributed to this report.

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