English footballer Dalian Atkinson died after police used a Taser on him near his father's home in Telford, England, The Guardian reports.
Atkinson, a former Aston Villa striker, who also played for Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town, was 48. He was believed to have been visiting his 85-year-old father when the incident occurred.
According to the report, West Mercia police officers deployed a Taser at about 1:30 a.m. local time Monday while responding to reports of concerns for someone's safety. Afterward, the man did not respond to medical attention and was pronounced dead 90 minutes later.
The incident was automatically referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission because of the death occurring in police custody, The Guardian notes. West Mercia police said they were assisting the IPCC with the investigation.
The commission acknowledged that it was aware of the situation and said it had launched its investigation.
“At this stage, the IPCC is aware a Taser was used on the man before he became ill. The ambulance service attended, but the man later died. IPCC investigators are at the scene gathering the available information and are attending the post-incident procedures to supervise the recovery of initial evidence," a statement by the commission read. "The IPCC is conducting a full and thorough investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding his death including the use of force.”
According to neighbors, Atkinson was a fixture in the neighborhood, making frequent visits.
“Every time he would come, he would have crowds around him. It’s close-knit community. I just can’t bear to think what his family are going through," Matthew Bothwell told The Guardian.
Resident Paula Quinn added that Atkinson was "almost staggering" in the street before being shocked with the Taser. Quinn told The Guardian that Atkinson went down "like a lead balloon" after being shocked.
“I heard shouting and something smashing, which is what alerted me to look out of the window. I am feeling a bit sick knowing that the poor lad has passed. I don’t care what anybody has done. Nobody deserves to die as a result of something like that," Quinn said.
According to The Guardian, Tasers have been criticized as being too often lethal, delivering a 50,000-volt shock. The weapons have been linked to at least 10 deaths in England and Wales over the past decade, The Guardian reports.
Following the news of Atkinson's death, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday paid tribute to the former player, tweeting out their condolences.
Read more at The Guardian.