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Gasoline-Doused Man Recovers From Burns After Being Hit By Taser Gun

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. -- Cumberland County deputies said a man wanted on kidnapping and robbery charges burst into flames Wednesday after gasoline splattered on him and a deputy used a Taser to try to apprehend him.

Deputies said Corporal Bradley Dean pulled over Richard McKinnon for a broken taillight in the Lake Upchurch area of Cumberland County.

McKinnon sped off, drove over a mailbox and hit a tree, deputies said.

He had gasoline in the front seat of his vehicle, and the gasoline splattered on him, they said.

When Dean attempted to apprehend McKinnon after the wreck, deputies said McKinnon tried to get away again and Dean used a Taser gun to stop him.

"Corporal Dean immediately saw the suspect's clothes catch on fire and then quickly spread throughout his whole body," Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, said.

Dean grabbed McKinnon and rolled him on the ground until the flames went out, she said.

Officers said it was an accident and that Dean did not smell the gasoline until it was too late.

"So far, the investigation has led us to believe that it was caused by the gasoline," Chief Deputy Cuyler Windham said.

Deputies said Thursday evening that McKinnon was listed in critical condition at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. He has burns over 70 percent of his body.

Deputies said they have not yet charged McKinnon. They said he already faces robbery and kidnapping charges in Bladen County.

Dean has been placed on administrative leave with pay as the sheriff's office investigates the incident, which is standard procedure, deputies said.
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