‘I’m going to find out,’ mother vows after Midlothian man hit with Taser dies in police custody

Posted at 1:05 PM, May 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-11 23:45:03-04

ENFIELD, N.C. -- The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) is investigating the  in-custody death of Michael Tyrone Gallagher, 55, of Midlothian, Virginia. Gallagher died Sunday after a police officer used a Taser on him during a confrontation in the town of Enfield, North Carolina, according to the NCSBI.

Enfield police Lieutenant Jerry Powell encountered Gallagher late Saturday night when he responded to a business along the 100 block of Whitfield Street for a breaking and entering.

"After a confrontation, Powell and a witness became engaged in a physical altercation with Gallagher. During the confrontation, Powell’s taser was deployed and contacted Gallagher," the NCSBI said. "Powell and the witness were able to restrain Gallagher in handcuffs. Halifax County EMS was dispatched to the location for assessment and treatment of injuries to all three individuals. EMS found Gallagher unresponsive and he was immediately transported to the Halifax County Medical Center (HRMC) where he was pronounced dead on Sunday, May 10, 2015. The cause and manner of death are undetermined at this time."

Michael Tyrone Gallagher

Both Powell and the witness were treated at Halifax Regional Medical Center for their injuries.

"Powell has been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation," the NCSBI said.

Gallagher had an outstanding warrant in Chesterfield for a restaurant break-in that happened in the 13700 block of Hull Street Road in late March 2014, Chesterfield Police said. In that incident, someone shattered the side glass door of the restaurant and stole cash.

Gallagher had an extensive criminal history in Chesterfield, including multiple burglary convictions.

One of those burglary convictions came after court records show Gallagher stole money out of a hairdresser’s drawer at Salon Plaza in the Chesterfield Town Plaza.

“You were able to see him coming out of my shop, re-locking it, looking at money and then putting it in his pocket,” the victim, who didn’t want to be identified, said.

The victim said Gallagher’s death is “extremely sad.”

“It’s sad to me that it had to end that way, don’t blame the police officer at all, I believe it was a situation where a man just chose to make bad choices and unfortunately his life ended because of it,” the victim, said.

Mother: ‘I’m going to find out’

Gallagher's mother, Barbara, is vowing to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. She said that her son was in North Carolina visiting his girlfriend's family when the incident happened.

Barbara Gallagher claimed that an undercover officer beat him up and used a Taser on her son several times. She thinks that is why he died.

"They better get their stuff together, ‘cause I’m not quitting. I’m going to find out exactly what they did to my son,” Gallagher promised.

The family said that they have hired a lawyer and claimed to have several eyewitnesses who would testify that Gallagher’s arrest was “not right.”

Gallagher admitted that her son had his share of problems, but said that he was also a good person.

“He just could never get it together. He was a good guy. He’d give you the shirt right off of his back,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher’s father, Chuck Gallagher, told CBS affiliate, WRAL in Raleigh, “this is pure out and out murder…he didn’t have a weapon, he didn’t have anything.”

And, a man who allegedly witnessed the confrontation told WRAL, “as far as I’m concerned they went overboard with it, they shouldn’t have killed him.”

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call the 1-800-334-3000. Friends and family of Gallagher can provide information via email here.

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