Ryan Miller and his wife Cathy awoke sometime after midnight to find their Louisiana home on fire. Both were able to escape alive with burns sustained from the blaze. However, as Mr. Miller attempted to return into the inferno to rescue his three year old stepson Riley Miller, a city police officer tasered him three times to keep him from entering. Riley died in the fire and was pronounced dead at Pike Country Memorial Hospital.
The house was destroyed and Ryan suffered burns to his chest, while Cathy suffered a burn to the cornea of one of her eyes. Both were released on Thursday evening.
Riley's grandmother said that Ryan was merely doing what any father would do and that was attempt to save his son's life, even if it meant losing his own.
"He tried to get back in the house to get the baby," Lori Miller said. "They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son."
Ryan's sister-in-law Emily Miller echoes Lori's sentiments. "It's just heartless. How could they be so heartless? And while they all just stood around and waited for the fire department, what kind of police officer wouldn't try and save a three year old burning in a house?" she said. "We've been going through pictures and he's just smiling in every picture. He was just a happy, go-lucky kid."
Riley was asleep in his room and his parents fell asleep watching television. As the fire began, the parents were able to escape via a rear door as they were awakened by smoke in the house, according to City Administrator Bob Jenne.
A 911 call came in at 12:58am and firefighters were on the scene at 1:03am.
As the Millers escaped and ran around to the front of the house, firefighters and police arrived. Miller then attempted to kick in the front door and enter the house to rescue his stepson, but police restrained him and then tasered him.
According to State Fire Marshal Investigator Scott Stoneberger, firefighters in full gear made attempts to enter the dwelling, but the fire was too hot.
Riley was discovered near the doorway to the bedroom.
The cause of the fire remains unknown and Ryan Miller has another son who was not home at the time.
The question though should be, who would stop a father from entering into his home, even in a burning fire, to rescue his son? On top of that, is tasing fathers for doing what is instinctively a part of being a parent something that police should be engaging in? Is this a case of police brutality? Did the officer contribute to the death of the three year old? Or is it just an officer doing his job?
Earlier this year San Antonio, Texas officers did the same exact thing when they tasered a father trying to save his 8-month old infant from a house fire.
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