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Ex-Premiere League soccer star killed in police Taser incident

Dalian Atkinson of Aston Villa in action during an FA Carling Premiership match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in London, April 4, 1995.


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LONDON -- A former English Premier League soccer player Dalian Atkinson has reportedly been killed by a shot from a high-voltage police Taser stun-gun in central England.

Speaking to CBS News partner network Sky News, West Mercia Police would only confirm that a 48-year-old man died about 90 minutes after being shot with a Taser when police responded to a call at a residence expressing concern "for the safety of an individual."

The police said the individual was given medical treatment but could not be revived. Rescue workers said the man who was hit by the Taser died of cardiac arrest.

Paula Quinn, a neighbor in the town of Telford, near Birmingham, said she heard shouting and looked out her window to see officers arguing with a man. She said the man was "stumbling" toward the police when an officer "shouted something about deploying the Taser."

She said the man continued to move toward the officer, at which point the Taser was fired.

"Then the gentleman just dropped like a lead balloon and landed straight on the floor," Quinn told Sky News.

One of Atkinson's former clubs, Sheffield, posted a message of condolence on its Twitter page, and British media outlets widely named him as the dead man.

Atkinson also played for Aston Villa and Spain's Real Sociedad during his career.

The police use of Tasers has come under mounting scrutiny in the U.K. during the past 10 years. Very few British police officers carry firearms, and the electric stun-guns were adopted widely to provide officers with a new non-lethal defense.

"West Mercia Police are unable to comment any further as the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as is normal procedure, and will assist the IPCC with their inquiries," the police told Sky in a statement.