Prowler tased by KCPD, dies while in custody

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A man arrested on a prowling call Monday morning in Kansas City, Mo., died in police custody shortly after being tased by police, authorities said.

Police identified the man as Kevin L. Ellis, 45, of Kansas City.

Officers were called to the area of 53rd Street and North Brighton Avenue at about 6 a.m. Monday.

Ellis was seen walking around a woman's house, according to a statement from the Kansas City Police Department, and when she tried to leave, he began jumping on her car and then got inside.

"He's in the backseat and it sounds like maybe he was talking to himself and not responding to the officers commands to get out of the vehicle," said Kansas City Police Sergeant Marisa Barnes.  

There was a short struggle between the officers and Ellis as they tried to subdue him. He was tased during the struggle, police said. Officers noticed he was not breathing, so they began CPR and called an ambulance. Ellis was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

"We use the taser to keep from having to hurt people so if there are pre-existing conditions that we don't know about, that can always play a factor," said Barnes.

After a 66-year-old woman was tased in 2004, the policies were changed to require that a commander respond to any incident related to a stun gun. Police said Chief of Police Darryl Forte responded Monday morning.

Autopsy results are expected to reveal the cause of death.

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