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Cops Taser Stepdad Trying to Save Son From Fire
Toddler perished in Missouri blaze
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2013 1:26 AM CST
A memorial in front of the home in Louisiana, Mo.    (AP Photo/Courtesy Louisiana Press-Journal, Dave Moller)

(Newser) – The outraged family of a stepfather Tasered as he tried to save his stepson from a house fire is considering suing the town of Louisiana, Missouri. Officers used the stun gun on Ryan Miller after he kicked in a front door and tried to enter the burning residence to rescue 3-year-old Riley, Quincy News reports. The city administrator says officers tried to restrain Miller after he became combative, while a relative says Miller was Tasered three times—including twice after he had been handcuffed. After he was pulled back, a firefighter tried to enter the home but was forced back by the heat, the AP reports. Riley was killed in the blaze.

"Firefighters finally got to the boy, and sadly enough, he was only maybe 12 to 15 feet from the front door," the administrator says. Miller—who woke up to find the house on fire and fled out the back after smoke and flames prevented him from reaching his stepson's bedroom at the front of the home—was taken to the city jail and released without being charged. The officers made a "judgment call" after Miller "kept trying to make entry without protective gear," the administrator tells the Louisiana Press-Journal. "They were worried he would succumb to the smoke and heat and we’d have another fatality." The fire is thought to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring. (In another recent tragedy, the homeowner who allegedly shot and killed a teen seeking help after a car crash says it was an accident.)

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Kimberly Goodman
Nov 13, 2013 8:47 PM CST
I can understand being tasered but once the handcuffs were on why was he tasered two more times? Yes, the father just reacted and did what all parents want to do - save their kids. If a fire crew in full gear can't get into a house due to heat and conditions then a mere man can not do it either. This a terrible loss and I feel horrible for the family. People under estimate just how far 12 feet is in adverse conditions. I wasn't there but I have to assume that everyone did all they could to save anyone. Fighting fires is a dangerous job for which I do not have the guts to do it. The fire crew risk their lives day in and day out just to combat fire and save lives so we have to listen to them as they are the experts.
Nov 9, 2013 1:33 PM CST
Another thing everyone here seems to be forgetting...There is a young mother right now who is mourning her child. She gets to lean on her husband's shoulder as she mourns. She gets to have him hold her. She does NOT have to compound the sorrow for her child with the loss of her husband.
Nov 9, 2013 9:29 AM CST
It would seem here that many of the people here are responding that the cops prevented dad from rescuing his son, resulting in the child's death. That is NOT true. Yes, the cops DID restrain the dad. BUT, if you read the source stories, you'll see that the fire department was on site, suited up, and entering the building AT THE SAME TIME as PD was restraining dad. The dad's actions and emotions are totally expected and reasonable, hence PD on scene. The dad wasn't out of line in his desperation, his whole world was focused on going in and saving his baby. Again, totally reasonable for any parent to feel that way. PD's job is NOT, and I repeat, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES to enter a burning building. They are not trained for that, they don't have the equipment for that. Unless you've been in a burning building, you don't have any idea what you're talking about. Emotions don't make you fire or heat proof. PD's job IS to protect people. At this time, their job was to protect the fire fighters so they could do their job, which was to attempt to rescue the child. Going into a burning building is a HUGELY dangerous task. These men and women go through countless hours training to do this job, and after certification, they must constantly practice and continue their training. These people are DEDICATED to their job, which is nothing more or less than to HELP PEOPLE. If a firefighter can't make it in to rescue a child due to heat, wearing full turn-out gear, and a SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) which allows them to breath fresh cool air, it is a definite FACT that an unprotected person had absolutely NO hope of entering. A burning building doesn't produce an 'uncomfortable' heat 100 to 140 degrees, a burning building creates a heat that will kill you instantly if you breath it in. Temperatures inside can get hundreds of degrees. But wait, that's not all. The fire also produces smoke and a host of poisonous gasses, all of which will kill you VERY quickly. All the unprotected person could achieve is further endangering the firefighters who would then have to attempt to rescue another person, and staying even longer in a BURNING building. Those cops and firefighters didn't leave that scene, thinking, "Well shucks, didn't get that one. Oh well." They were tore up emotionally. They went home and hid as they tried to process the feelings of utter failure they no doubt felt. Some of them may even seek counseling. The death of a child has ended many a career in emergency services. It did mine. Your emotional condition does NOT make you heat, smoke, or fire proof. Your emotional condition CAN make you an obstacle which must be removed. There's nothing wrong with having these emotions, just remember, you're not the only one. The cops and firefighters have those same emotions. If you've never served in emergency services, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Unless you've been there, unless you've had a young desperate mother cry out to you "PLEASE SAVE MY BABY!!" as she hands you her 2 month old, dead from SIDS; unless you've had to hold a young husband/dad at a car wreck as your coworkers work to extract his obviously dead young wife and child from a devastated vehicle; unless you've had to hold the hand of a mother who watches firefighters go into the flames to find her kids, unless you've been there, kindly shut up because you don't know what you are talking about.