Ex-police chief dies after stun gun shock

Dec. 17, 2012 at 4:03 PM
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NORTH STRABANE, Pa., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A former Pennsylvania police chief died after being shocked with a stun gun following a fight at a casino and a short police chase, state troopers said.

Darryl L. Briston, 49, the former head of the police department in Rankin, officially died of natural causes -- a heart attack, investigators said -- about 24 minutes after an incident between Briston and his estranged wife's companion, who he saw at Meadows Racetrack and Casino in North Strabane about 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Briston and the companion began to fight and casino security called local police. Briston fled the scene and North Strabane police chased him for about a quarter-mile, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday. After catching up to him, police said they ordered Briston to put his hands behind his back. He refused and was shocked with a stun gun after a verbal warning, police reports stated.

After being shocked, Briston cooperated. As he was being walked back to the casino, Briston said he couldn't breathe. Police called paramedics who rushed him to a hospital, but doctors pronounced Briston dead.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Briston was fired from his law enforcement job in Rankin after being convicted in federal court of theft and obstruction of justice. He stole more than $6,000 in cash seized as evidence in a case, then falsified records to cover up the theft.

He served more than three years in federal prison as a result.

He was also convicted by an Allegheny County jury of pocketing $1,334 from a man who broke the windshield on his police cruiser. Briston cashed the check for the repairs, but never had the work done on the city-owned vehicle. He was sentenced to probation concurrent with his federal sentence in that case.

State troopers said the investigation into Briston's death was ongoing, but was being considered a result of natural causes.

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