Edwin Barton

Deputies use Taser on man at Sacramento airport

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 - 9:56 am

We've all been there: flying and frustrated and ready to flip out.

But what exactly caused a New Hampshire man to lose his cool at Sacramento International Airport's security checkpoint after he landed Tuesday afternoon still was not clear to authorities by nightfall.

As local and federal officials debriefed for hours, 26-year-old Edwin Barton went from a hospital to jail, accused of two misdemeanor crimes and, most likely, a little sore from three jolts from a Taser.

Barton's scuffle with the law began about 1:30 p.m., when he exited a Southwest flight, walked out of the airport's secure area and into the baggage claim area of new Terminal B before realizing he had left something on the plane, said Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman Deputy Jason Ramos.

The Transportation Security Administration agent who greets arriving passengers wouldn't let Barton run back to the gate, and after some arguing, the agent directed Barton to the ticketing counter for a pass allowing him back in the secure area, Ramos said.

But, like all passengers, Barton had to go through security, Ramos said. That's where his good judgment appeared to depart.

Barton became argumentative with TSA agents, Ramos said, and when he had to place his bag on a conveyor belt at the screening device, Barton allegedly grabbed it and ran toward the boarding areas. Nearby sheriff's deputies tried to stop him, but he spun out of their grasp and kept running, Ramos said.

A deputy deployed his Taser, shocking Barton once. But when he tried pulling the Taser's barbs out, deputies shocked him twice more until he was subdued, Ramos said.

Barton was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, then booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail. Though suspects accused of misdemeanor crimes typically are cited and released on site, Barton was booked because he is not a California resident, Ramos said.

After the incident, deputies could find nothing to explain Barton's behavior, Ramos said.

"Nothing would have compromised the security of the airport. There was no contraband, nothing illegal on his person or in his bag," he said. "It's a big question mark as to why he took the actions he did." Ramos said the dust-up caused a brief backup in the security checkpoint line, but no flights were affected.

Apparently, Tuesday was a bad day for lots of other folks, too. Ramos said Barton's booking was held up by an unusually long line of suspects at the Main Jail.

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