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San Diego County Digest

San Diego

November 04, 1987

A man in his early 20s remained in critical condition Tuesday and on a life support system at Physicians & Surgeons Hospital after he was stunned three times by police with a Taser gun early Monday morning, police spokesman Bill Robinson said.

Officers were called to the 2200 block of L Street at 12:36 a.m. after a resident reported a backyard prowler and found a man, identified as Mario Gastelum, hiding underneath the house in his underwear.

Police fired the Taser gun twice to force Gastelum from the crawl space. He was shot a third time after he behaved violently en route to the hospital, police said. The Taser gun shoots a dart that emits 50,000 volts of electricity, Robinson said.

"These guns are commonly used in situations where someone is combative and out of control, such as someone under the influence of PCP or other narcotics," Robinson said. "He was believed to be under the influence, possibly of PCP, and was resisting arrest."

"At the entrance to the hospital, it was used to calm him," Robinson said. "He was talking and appeared to be in good health when he was taken into the emergency ward."

After he was taken to the examination area, Gastelum stopped breathing.

Robinson said the Police Department's internal affairs division is investigating the matter.

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