Guy Guthrie, suicidal man with BB gun, dies after being Tased

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Update: This weekend, members of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deployed a Taser against a suicidal man now identified as Guy Guthrie, 55. He was armed, but only with a BB gun -- and died about an hour later. A JCSO spokesman defends the safety of Tasers even as he acknowledges that the outcome was tragic. But while there's no evidence yet that the device contributed to the Guthrie's death, the incident is still likely to fuel criticism from those who believe Tasers are a lot more dangerous than advertised.

The best-known recent incident in which a man died after being Tased involved Alonzo Ashley -- and the accounts of the July 2011 incident at the Denver Zoo from his girlfriend and the Denver Police Department could hardly be more different.

alonzo ashley.jpg
Alonzo Ashley.
As we've reported, the girlfriend said Ashley (nicknamed Tiger) got so overheated while visiting the zoo that he vomited. She added that he was trying to cool down by splashing water on his head from a fountain near the elephant enclosure when a zoo staffer asked if he needed help. He allegedly responded by saying he wanted to be left alone, prompting calls to zoo security and Denver Police. She insisted that no "domestic disturbance" of the sort cited by the DPD took place, and maintained that he didn't fight back against officers.

In contrast, police said Ashley attacked a zoo employee alerted by an argument with his girlfriend, and subsequently bit two people trying to subdue him, in addition to inflicting a head injury. Moreover, they described him as so wild that contact-Tasing -- pressing the device directly against him, as opposed to shooting him with Taser barbs, which would have immobilized him entirely -- did nothing to slow him down. Only after he was belatedly brought under control did he begin convulsing, then stopped breathing. He died at a nearby hospital.

Ashley's death was controversial, but in January 2012, the Manager of Safety's Office determined that no charges should be filed against the eight officers involved in the matter. This determination didn't satisfy Ashley's friends, family and loved ones: Last July, they sued the zoo and the police department. The lawsuit has not been resolved at this writing.

This weekend's situation happened at a far less public place -- a home at 30438 Sunset Trail in Conifer so far off the radar that Google Maps has yet to capture its image. At 6:49 a.m., according to a JCSO press release, deputies and medical personnel arrived at the address after receiving a report about a 55-year-old man -- Guthrie, a resident of the Pine area -- who'd been making suicidal statements.

JCSO public-information officer Mark Techmeyer adds that the man's brother, who phoned authorities, believed he was under the influence of drugs at the time. Techmeyer says he didn't specify which drugs, though, and a coroner's report has yet to be finalized.

Guthrie was carrying a BB gun, and when he refused to drop it, deputies deployed a Taser, after which he's said to have been placed into custody without further incident.

That's not the end of the story, however.

Continue for more about Tasers and the weekend death of a Conifer man.

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DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 The cops better hurry and ARREST his Corpse before it's cold ... 

*** DNA swab of arrestee's cheek is a 'reasonable search,' - Supreme Court ***

The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that police may routinely force arrestees to provide a DNA sample that can later be used to solve other crimes without having to first obtain a search warrant.

Such a routine collection procedure is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, the court said.

Writing for the majority,
Justice Anthony Kennedysaid a brief swab of a suspect’s cheek to collect the DNA sample was only a minor intrusion that would not offend an arrested suspect’s expectations of privacy.

In contrast, he said, the government has a significant interest in using DNA to positively identify the arrestee, including any violent history or propensity to flee during pre-trial custody.

“Upon these considerations the Court concludes that DNA identification of arrestees is a reasonable search that can be considered part of a routine booking procedure,” Justice Kennedy wrote.

The ACLU says the Supreme Court ruling, which allows the DNA samples to be stored in a database for use in solving other crimes, creates a 'gaping new exception to the Fourth Amendment.'

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

The State Executioners -- aka The Police -- just can't stand anyone else infringing on their monopoly of killing ... even if it's self-imposed suicide, the cops will intervene and stop it ... just long enough just so they can pull the trigger.

What better way to permanently stop a suicide than by homicide?


I am not to sure the statistics, but I am certain, Suicide with a BB gun is nearly impossible.....


If that's how the police report reads, then it MUST be true . People die from tasers ALL THE TIME ! Hence it's use in the first place ......?

The corps SHOULD be evidence in a homicide INVESTIGATION  & WOULD BE if it were the other way around .



Gone are the days when a citizen only had to submit DNA to Denver regional diagnostic center, after being found guilty thru due process, and committed to that institution.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@CloudGang ... except those that were later acquitted on appeal never got to have their DNA samples destroyed and deleted from the CODIS database.

Now that the Supremes have deemed it reasonable upon arrest, you can bet that States will begin requiring it for ALL arrests, even misdemeanor and traffic offenses.

And since those Fascists have speciously claimed it is for "identification purposes", why not require it for all Licenses and ID issued by the Government?

                     *** Regulation Works! ***


@DonkeyHotay Don't forget to take prints at birth.

I wonder what the excuse will be when someone or group, hacks the database?

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