Australian Engulfed in Flames After Being Tasered

A man whose relatives say had been sniffing
gasoline burst into flames after a police officer Tasered him as he
ran at officials carrying a container of fuel, police said Tuesday.

The man, identified by his family as 36-year-old Ronald
Mitchell, was in critical condition at a Perth hospital in Western
Australia state following Monday's incident in Warburton, an
Aboriginal community 950 miles (1,540 kilometers) northeast of
Perth.

Western Australia police said Mitchell ran from a house carrying
a cigarette lighter and a large plastic bottle containing what they
believe was fuel. When he refused to stop running toward them, one
officer Tasered him, Western Australia police said in a media
release.

The man was immediately engulfed in flames. The officer threw
him to the ground and smothered the blaze with his hands, the
statement said. Mitchell was charged with assault to prevent arrest
and possession of a sniffing substance.

An 18-year-old woman threw rocks at the officer as he tried to
help, and he later treated for a cut on his head and burns to his
hands, police said.

The woman was charged with two counts of assaulting an officer,
said Sgt. Graham Clifford of Western Australia police. Two others
at the house were charged with possessing a sniffing substance.

Mitchell's sister, Morinda West, told The Australian newspaper
that her brother had been sniffing gasoline and that when he ran
out of the house he was carrying a lighter and an orange juice
container full of gasoline.

Police spokeswoman Susan Usher said Mitchell appeared to have
received third-degree burns to about ten percent of his body.

The officer who Tasered Mitchell is was not suspended, Clifford
said.


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