Family wants answers after police taser man trying to save stepson

(KTVI)–There was fear a small town tragedy that made national news would come to a head Tuesday night.

3 year old Riley Miller died in a house fire in Louisiana, Missouri, early Halloween morning.

His stepfather said police used a taser to keep from trying to rescue the boy.

City leaders expected public outrage to possibly boil over at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Louisiana Police called in extra help from Missouri Highway Patrol and the Pike County Sheriff’s Department to provide security for the meeting.

Riley had a smile that could melt your heart.

His death might very well break it.

He’d already unofficially taken his stepfather Ryan Miller’s last name.

Ryan called Riley his little buddy and best friend.

After getting his wife out of the house, Ryan Miller said he went back for Riley, couldn’t find him and came outside to catch his breath.

Authorities said Louisiana Police Sgt.  Jeff Salois used a taser to keep Miller from going in a second time, after Miller became combative; he shocked Miller again while putting him into a police car.

“Sgt. Salois has been subjected to death threats and other personal and career threatening malicious commentary,” Dr. Joel Shults, told the city council.

Shults was Salois’s criminal justice instructor in college.

He is now a campus police chief at Adams State University in Colorado.  He spoke on the sergeant’s behalf – and urged people to keep open minds about what actually happened at a fire scene where everyone wanted the same thing: to save that boy.

“People come up with this brain image of what that looked like.  They come up with a video in their mind of what that looked like.  I just want to tell folks that what it looked like was very chaotic, very dark, lots of confusion in that moment…Sgt. Salois’s glasses were melting as he was up next to the fire helping firefighters get access,” Shults said.

“What would be saying if emergency personnel stood by and allowed a distraught parent to enter a fully engulfed building without protective gear and breathing equipment and we ended up with 2 funerals instead of one?” Louisiana City Attorney Robert Rapp said, addressing the public and the city council.  “So please we ask for your patience.  Let these investigations conclude.”

Ryan Miller told fox 2 he could not comment, Tuesday night, citing an attorney’s advice.

Louisiana city leaders and its police chief said they could not comment pending the outcome of several investigations into the matter.

Email: Andy.Banker@tvstl.com

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