Mentally-Challenged Teen’s Taser Death Ruled Accidental

Patrick Johnson was

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Family Photo

The death of an 18-year-old Northeast Philadelphia man who died in October after police Tasered him twice was ruled accidental by the city's Medical Examiner's office Monday.

Patrick Johnson died from right ventricular cardiomyopathy -- a form of heart disease, city officials said.

The shocks were a factor in the teen's death and could have kick started the heart condition but were only a factor -- not a cause of death -- for Johnson, authorities said.

The official cause of death was accidental, according to the M.E. 

Johnson had the mental capacity of a child, family members said.

Police specially trained to work with mentally handicapped people arrived at a home on the 6900 block of Souder Street after being called about a man who was trying to light sticks on fire in the kitchen, police said.

"The cops told him four times to drop the sticks, he lunged at the cops and they tased him," said step-father Steve Zielinski.

The teen continued to come after the cops following the first stun so police Tasered him again, they said.

He was taken unresponsive to Nazareth Hospital where he died.

Police had previously been called to the residence 14 times, Lt. Frank Vanore told the Inquirer.


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