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A 9-year-old boy riding his scooter in a church parking lot was allegedly tased by a woman who was lingering in a parked vehicle.
Keaton Green was playing with a friend outside a church in Riverton, Utah on Oct. 2 when he first noticed a middle-aged woman with purple hair and a missing tooth was watching them from a beige car, according to an arrest report obtained by Oxygen.com.
The driver, later identified as local daycare worker April Shurtleff, was allegedly “holding her phone horizontally, possibly filming them,” police wrote in the probable cause statement. Her presence made the two boys feel “uncomfortable” police said.
The boy’s mother, Kelly Wright-Green, who described her son as “not a shy person,” said the situation escalated rapidly after the fourth-grader asked Shurtleff why she was filming him.
“She said, ‘Because I can,’ and yelled some obscenities,” Wright-Green, 38, told Oxygen.com.
The children then left the parking lot, police said, and returned several minutes later with their scooters in the hopes that Shurtleff was gone. The 37-year-old, however, hadn’t moved. The woman, they told law enforcement, later rolled down her window and revealed a portable taser.
“I am going to f--king tase you,” Shurtleff allegedly shouted at Green and his friend, the arrest report stated.
As the two boys fled the parking lot, Shurtleff allegedly drove after them in pursuit. Shurtleff, who allegedly emerged from her vehicle brandishing a taser, is accused of hunting Green down on foot, and tasing him in the chest for “about four seconds,” investigators wrote in the arrest affidavit.
“She grabbed Keaton’s arm, and used a handheld taser and stuck it to his chest,” Wright-Green said.
The Utah mother said her son “immediately went down” and was “incapacitated” but managed to call 911 with a cell phone he had. Police arrived to find Green “crying in pain” on a grass lawn in front of the church, according to the arrest report. He was evaluated by paramedics on-scene but wasn’t hospitalized, his family confirmed.
Surveillance footage later helped investigators identify Shurtleff as the driver.
Shurtleff, when questioned by police, said she never threatened the two boys. She initially denied owning the stun gun as well; however, a “two-prong taser” was later seized from the trunk of her car. The device appeared to match the “burn marks” on the 9-year-old’s chest, investigators said.
"She then later stated she did have a taser and showed the boys, but did not use it on them," the affidavit added.
Shurtleff was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, aggravated assault, and threats of violence, according to online jail records.
Green, who suffered chest pains for a number of days following the incident, has recovered. However, his family is worried the incident has exacerbated pre-existing mental health struggles.
“Physically, he’s fine,” Wright-Green said. “Mentally, I think he’s had a lot of things triggered… He’s angry, he’s mad that this happened.”
Wright-Green said the “odd” incident has left her whole family unnerved.
“This stuff doesn’t happen in our neighborhood,” she explained. “Who just sits in a church parking lot and tases little children? It’s insane. If she really was taking pictures of them, why? For what purpose?”
Wright-Green, a mother of three children, said she was unsettled to learn that Shurtleff reportedly works at a daycare down the street from her family’s home.
“I’m not able to disclose any of that,” a manager for the daycare, Just 4 Kids Adventures, told Oxygen.com.
The daycare employee acknowledged she was aware of the incident but said she was prohibited from commenting. She was unable to confirm if Shurtleff was still employed by the company.
The case has rattled the small city of Riverton, which is about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City.
“We are pleased the child involved with this case is recovering and that the suspect is now in custody,” Casey Saxton, a spokesperson for the City of Riverton, told Oxygen.com. “We look to the future as this case makes its way through the court system and trust that adequate justice will be served. To be clear, Riverton City condemns assault and violence of every kind, including in this case.”
Meanwhile, Green’s family is calling for a stiff prison sentence for Shurtleff.
“I want her to stay in jail for a very long time,” she said. “She is very lucky she turned herself in before we came across her path.”
Shurtleff is being held at a Salt Lake county jailhouse without bond, according to online jail records.
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