GASTONIA, N.C. --
A Gastonia man is accused of using an 11-year-old boy as a human shield to block a shot from a police Taser.
Police told Eyewitness News that officers stopped Terry Montgomery during a routine license check around 2 a.m. Saturday. Officers said they smelled marijuana in Montgomery's car and saw an open liquor bottle. Police said when they tried to arrest Montgomery, he attacked two officers, ran off and kicked in the door to a home on West Airline Avenue. A man, his 11-year-old son and 90-year-old mother were sleeping inside.
Neighbor Cathleen Metterville saw police swarm the house.
"We were out here and the cops told us to go in because somebody was on the loose," she said.
A dramatic scene unfolded inside. Police said Montgomery used the little boy as a shield.
The boy's father told Eyewitness News that one of the officers shot a Taser at Montgomery while he was still clinging to the boy. The father said one of the Taser prongs went into his son's arm but did not release an electric shock. Shortly after, police took Montgomery into custody.
Eyewitness News asked Gastonia Police about the department's Taser policies. A sergeant said “They do not have a policy that prohibits officers from shooting a Taser when a person is being held as a hostage or human shield." The sergeant said using a Taser is up to the officer's discretion. In this case, the sergeant said, the officer had to weigh the danger to the child versus the benefit of taking Montgomery into custody.
Montgomery is charged with kidnapping, burglary, drug possession and two counts of assault on a government official.
The 11-year-old was checked out by emergency crews after the incident and is OK. His father said he still can't believe his son was put in harm's way.
The Gastonia Police Departments is now conducting an internal investigation into the officer’s use of force, which should be complete in the next one to two weeks.
Eyewitness News looked into Montgomery's criminal history. In 2005, he was convicted of manslaughter and spent four years in prison. He's also been convicted multiple counts of assault and drug possession.
Copyright 2011 by . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.