Tracy police officers shot a man in the eye with the barb of a Taser after the man reportedly led officers on a car chase and fought with them.
Tracy police Capt. John Espinoza said the 18-year-old man was shot twice with Tasers, electroshock weapons which shoot pairs of metal barbs and deliver a powerful electric jolt designed to immobilize the person.
He confirmed that one of the barbs hit the man in the eye and went into the eye socket, but as of Thursday afternoon, police had not heard if the injury would affect the man’s eyesight. The man was taken to Sutter Tracy Community Hospital and then to the University of California Medical Center in Davis for treatment.
Espinoza said the man, identified as Martin Andrade, was arrested on suspicion of evading arrest, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. He said Andrade was still at the hospital as of Thursday afternoon.
Police received a call at 10:58 p.m. Wednesday from someone on the 300 block of Jaeger Street who dialed 9-1-1 and hung up. When the dispatcher called back, the man said he wanted to kill himself and said “if the police show up, he will shoot them,” according to the police dispatch log of the incident.
He was gone when police arrived, but police saw a car drive back and forth along Jaeger Street and learned that the man they were looking for was the driver. Espinoza said his mother was also in the car and apparently tried to convince him to stop and talk to police.
“When the officers went to the house, he did drive by and basically wanted us to pursue him,” Espinoza said.
When police noticed the woman yelling for help from the car, they began the pursuit.
Police followed the car on a 15- to 20-minute chase through the downtown area along Sixth Street, then back to Jaeger Street and Wagtail Drive. Eventually, officers blocked the car in on Accipter Court.
Neighbors said they saw patrol cars crowd into the cul-de-sac, heard shouting and saw police tackle the man, but didn’t know what the commotion was about.
Espinoza said the man would not comply with police orders and fought with officers as they pulled him from the car. He added that once out of the car, the man continued to fight with officers and ducked as they shot the stun guns at him.
Espinoza said all officers carry Tasers, which allow police to immobilize suspects without a prolonged struggle.
“It’s a good tool to have, because it actually reduces injuries to suspects and police officers,” Espinoza said.
He added that, in all cases like this, police make sure the person gets immediate medical treatment, and officers must complete detailed reports that include data from computers that are built into the Tasers.