Aussie Bursts Into Flames After Police Taser Blast

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2009 4:27 AM CDT
Australian police have defended their use of a Taser on a man who ran at them carrying a container of fuel.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – An Australian man has been hospitalized with burns over 20% of his body after he burst into flames when Tasered by police, reports the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Police say they had no choice but to use the stun gun on the man—a known gas-sniffer and violent offender—when he charged them carrying a container of fuel and a lighter as they responded to a call in a remote Aboriginal community.

"The police officers were extremely concerned for their safety and deployed a Taser," said Western Australia's top police official. "Just remember that two years ago, their only option would have been to deploy a firearm." An officer who attempted to smother the flames was injured by rocks thrown by one of the man's associates. She has been charged with assaulting police.