SAN DIEGO -
A 3-year-old girl suffered a minor puncture wound Friday when she was struck by a barb from an electric stun gun fired by a police officer running down a fleeing parole violator in a Palm City-area mall.
Officers were chasing the man through the Southland Plaza shopping center in the 600 block of Saturn Boulevard when one of them discharged the non-lethal compliance device in an attempt to stop him shortly after 3 p.m., according to San Diego police.
"About that time we saw a guy saying, 'Why are you chasing me?'" said Karen Horse, whose son was selling candy bars in the shopping center.
One of two barbs attached to electrified wires on the weapon hit the suspect, and the other struck the nearby child, who was with her parents, SDPD public affairs Lt. Andra Brown said. The girl did not receive an electric shock, the lieutenant said.
Horse told 10News she saw the officer fire his Taser, and she watched as one of the prongs seemed to get caught by the wind, landing on the little girl's clothing.
"It was like it was stuck to her, just by a thread." Horse recalled.
The girl, the daughter of a San Diego County sheriff's deputy, was sitting with her parents in front of a Wells Fargo Bank branch when the incident happened.
The parolee-at-large continued trying to escape but was taken into custody moments later. His name was not immediately available.
10News learned the parolee has a history of drug offenses.
Police said the barbs from a stun gun, which can fly as far as 25 feet, only emit an electrical shock when both barbs hit the same person.
Paramedics were called to remove the barbs from the parolee and the child. Police said they put a bandage over the little girl's puncture wound and sent her home with her parents.
The girl's parents displayed an "understanding" attitude about the mishap while interacting with police, Brown said.
The officer who fired the Taser was shaken up by the incident. Lt. Joseph Ramos told 10News the young officer recently became a father, so he was upset until the off-duty deputy told him everything was OK.