MANASSAS, Va. (AP) – A sheriff’s deputy shocked sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad with a stun belt after he refused to participate in medical tests at a hospital, his attorney said.

Muhammad was taken by sheriff’s deputies and guards from jail around noon Friday to undergo a court-ordered MRI and an electroencephalogram, which monitors brain waves.

But Jonathan Shapiro, one of Muhammad’s attorneys, told The Washington Post that hospital staff also wanted to X-ray the suspect’s head before the MRI. Muhammad had not expected the X-ray and did not want to speak to sheriff’s officials without his attorneys present, so he refused the test, Shapiro said.

He resisted by moving his head from side to side and trying to sit up, and the deputy sheriff stunned him, Shapiro said.

The account was confirmed by several other sources, the Post reported. The newspaper identified the sources only as law enforcement officials and others involved in the case.

Throughout the incident, Muhammad was restrained at the wrists and ankles and never became violent or tried to escape, the sources said.

“They were trying to force his head down and keep it still, and it was painful,” Shapiro said. “Mr. Muhammad reacted, and they zapped him. … This was absolutely unnecessary and something that was handled completely inappropriately.”

Sheriff E. Lee Stoffregen III would not comment about Muhammad or what happened at the hospital, citing a court order. He would not say whether Muhammad was injured.

Peter D. Greenspun, another defense attorney, said the shock left welts.

Muhammad, 42, and fellow suspect Lee Boyd Malvo, 18, have been charged with 13 shootings, including 10 deaths, stemming from a three-week shooting spree in October in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. They are also suspected or charged in several other shootings across the country, including Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arizona and Washington.

AP-ES-08-23-03 0011EDT



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