Maine man hit in eye by pepper ball

Posted Feb. 04, 2009, at 10:20 a.m.

AUBURN, Maine — Police say an Auburn man accused of wielding a Samurai-type sword during a confrontation was hit in the eye with a pepper ball.

Authorities said 25-year-old Jason Smith has been transferred to a hospital in Boston, where surgeons are attempting to save his eye.

Police used pepper ball guns and a Taser to end a three-hour standoff after officers attempted to take him into protective custody on Jan. 28. Police Chief Phil Crowell said Smith was incoherent, reciting religious scripture and claiming to be a prophet.

Pepper balls are considered nonlethal but a 21-year-old woman was killed when she was struck in the eye by a pepper ball fired by police attempting to disperse a crowd after the Red Sox World Series win in 2004.

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