Man Doused With Gasoline Catches Fire, Dies at Hospital After Police Fire Taser Gun at Him

A man who doused himself with gasoline then caught on fire after police fired a Taser stun gun at him died from his injuries Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Juan Flores Lopez, 47, was hospitalized after the confrontation with officers in his yard Monday.

Police said they used pepper spray while trying to take Lopez into custody, but that he was never handcuffed. Lopez had a can of gas and a small lighter in his hand at one point, police Lt. Curtis Milbourn said. He tossed gas at officers, but no one was injured, police said.

The Texas Rangers were investigating whether a lighter found at the scene could have contributed to the fire and whether a Taser can ignite anything, Lt. Bob Bullock said.

"We don't know what ignited the fire," Milbourn said.

Two of Lopez's sons who live nearby said their father had been threatening for months to burn himself and his house. His wife was seeking a divorce and he didn't want to have to leave the house, the sons said. Lopez also had a history of mental illness, one of the sons said.

The police department began using Tasers, electronic stun guns designed to subdue violent suspects, in January 2004.