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Calif. Man Dies After Cops Use Stun Gun During A Traffic Stop

A routine traffic stop ended in the death of a 43-year-old California man. The Los Angeles Times reports that San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies attempted to stop Allen Kephart, after they say he ran a stop sign. Cindy Bachman, a sheriff department spokeswoman, told the Times that Kephart drove to a gas station about a quarter of mile away, got out of the car and "became combative and uncooperative:"

"The deputy attempted to place him under arrest, at which time he was Tased," Bachman said. "He became unconscious, and medical aid was immediately provided, CPR."

Kephart was taken to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.

The San Bernardino Sun reports this was Kephart's first real run-in with police. His father, reports the Sun, is a 20-year member of the San Bernardino County sheriff's Rangers volunteer unit.

"They're not dealing with a criminal, a druggie, a gang banger. They were dealing with someone that was in the community for 43 years, that never ever had been arrested or had any problem with law enforcement," his father, Alfred Kephart, told the Sun.

Back in 2009, five men in the area died after being hit with stun guns. Inland News Today reports that led Taser International, a maker of stun guns, to issue an advisory that said aiming the device at a suspect's chest could cause an "adverse cardiac arrest."

, a website that keeps track of stun guns deaths in the United States, says 19 people have died in stun gun incidents in 2011. 65 people died in the U.S. last year, according to the site.

A 2008 study by Amnesty International found that in 90 percent of stun gun incidents, suspects were unarmed. In June of 2010, Amnesty International reported more than 400 people had died after being stun gunned by police.

The Los Angeles Times reports Kephart was Tased about eight times by two deputies.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.