Cause of death not determined

A North College Hill High School graduate attending college preparatory classes at the University of Cincinnati died Saturday after a campus police officer used a Taser on him.

Everette Howard went into cardiac arrest while being attended to by medics. He was rushed to University Hospital, where he could not be resuscitated.

Howard was planning to attend the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., according to his Facebook profile.

He graduated this spring in the top 10 percent of his class, according to Enquirer archives, and was an accomplished wrestler in high school.

Officers rushed to Turner Hall at about 3 a.m. after receiving a 911 call about an assault. The dormitory is located on Jefferson Avenue near the intersection with West University Avenue.

As officers were trying to figure out what happened, Howard approached them outside the hall.

He appeared agitated, angry and had balled fists, UC Assistant Police Chief Jeff Corcoran said.

Officers ordered Howard to stop approaching them more than once, but he refused, Corcoran said.

Howard was stunned by one cycle of the Taser and subdued.

Following protocol, the officer checked his condition.

Corcoran said Howard had a good pulse and was breathing, but officers said he appeared incoherent and seemed to have an "altered mental status."

The fire department and paramedics were called to examine Howard.

Two investigations have been launched because of the incident.

An internal investigation will look into the use of force by the officer, who was immediately placed on mandatory administrative leave.

Corcoran said the department has suspended the use of Tasers until it can determine what caused the teen's death.

The 56-officer department uses Tasers five or six times a year, Corcoran said.

An autopsy has been ordered.

"I want to emphasize we don't know what the cause of the death is at this point," Corcoran said.

The second investigation is trying to determine what initiated the original 911 call and whether an assault has taken place.

There have been no arrests or criminal charges filed.

"We are extremely unhappy and upset at the outcome of this call," Corcoran said. "No one wants to see the death of an 18-year-old. It was not anyone's intention. The officer is very distraught."

In Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, two people have died after being shocked by a stun gun, according to Enquirer archives.

Leroy Hughes, 52, died after being shocked by a Taser and struggling with Covington police officers in December 2008 at Highland and Jefferson avenues.

Hughes, who was 6 feet and 6 inches tall and weighed more than 400 pounds, was carrying a concealed weapon and threw a box of bullets at officers during the struggle.

Douglas Boucher, 39, died after he fell and struck his head after being shocked by a Taser outside a gas station in December 2009 in Mason.

Both men had a history of mental illnesses.