| Crime |

Berserk Man Dies After Fight With Cops Inside Diner; Tased Four Times

A fight Sunday night in a Phoenix diner between police officers and a berserk man on a destructive rampage ended when the man fell ill and died after he was tased four times.

Police haven't yet released the name of the 38-year-old white man, pending notification of his family.

See also: -The Taser: Almost Never a Lethal Weapon -Tempe Cop Accidentally Hits 14-Year-Old Girl With Taser Probe

The incident began about 10 p.m. at Freddy's Steak Burgers, 4929 West Bell Road, where eight employees were finishing up their work day. The man had been seen earlier in the parking lot of the restaurant "acting strange and mumbling to himself," police said. It's unclear whether he ever bought a meal.

He entered the restroom, "barricaded" himself in, and managed to flood the floor. Then he came out and began "tearing the place apart," says Phoenix Officer James Holmes.

The man battered the counter area with a plastic "wet floor" sign. When he tried to get behind the counter, though, one brave employee threatened him with a knife.

Two officers who showed up started fighting with the man after he ignored their commands. They were hit "numerous times" and both shot him with their tasers twice, Holmes says.

Suddenly, the man went into "medical distress." He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The two officers were left with cuts and bruises, and one had a sprained back and shoulder.

Holmes says it's too early to tell what caused the man's death, but that an investigation is pending.

In a 2007 article by former New Times writer Paul Rubin, Phoenix police credited electric stun guns with reducing injuries to suspects and officers. But an accompanying article revealed the dark side of the "less-lethal" weapon, focusing on the death of a suspect who'd been stunned continuously for 84 seconds by officer Charles Anderson III.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Ray Stern on Twitter at @RayStern.

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