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Officials question: Did Taser or drugs kill Fort Myers man?

A man who died nearly eight hours after being hit with a Taser stun gun told hospital officials that he used cocaine at a nightclub before his fight with officers, authorities said.

Christopher Hernandez, 19, was hit twice with a Taser and doused with a substance similar to pepper spray as he fought three Collier County sheriff's deputies early Tuesday outside a North Naples convenience store, the Collier Sheriff's Office said. He died later at a hospital. Hernandez's relatives say he was also beaten.

Hernandez, of Fort Myers, was the third suspect to die in Florida this month after being subdued with a Taser gun.

Investigators were trying to determine if the Taser caused Hernandez's death or if the suspected use of cocaine, a pre-existing medical condition or another reason led to his death.

A toxicology report will determine if there were illegal drugs in his system and a medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Taser stun guns hit suspects with 50,000 volts of electricity, incapacitating them. Taser International of Arizona says its weapons are safe to use to subdue violent individuals, and are a non-lethal alternative to shooting a suspect.

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