IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Florida man 'cooked alive' after deputy's stun gun ignites gasoline at Wawa station, lawyers say

Jean Barreto, 26, continues to undergo medical procedures after the Feb. 27 incident, in which 75 percent of his body was covered in third-degree burns, his lawyers said.

Lawyers for a Florida man say he continues to fight for his life after he was “cooked alive” earlier this year, when a sheriff’s deputy is alleged to have shot him with a stun gun while the man was covered in gasoline from having fueled his dirt bike.

Jean Barreto, 26, suffered third-degree burns over 75 percent of his body during the incident Feb. 27 at a Wawa gas station in Orlando, the NeJame Law group said in a statement Wednesday.

An Osceola County sheriff’s deputy is accused of tackling Barreto from behind, knocking him and his dirt bike to the ground and spilling gas, the statement said.

At least three other deputies then appeared, Barreto’s attorneys said, one of whom used a stun gun on Barreto.

Deploying the weapon engulfed “almost his entire body in flames and approximately half of the other deputy’s as well,” the lawyers said.

“This fireball, caused by the reckless, foolish, unnecessary" use of the stun gun, the statement said, led to "the horrific explosion, engulfing the two of them and injuring 2 other deputies with minor burns.”

The sheriff's office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Jean Barreto.
Jean Barreto.Courtesy NeJame Law Office

NBC affiliate WESH of Orlando reported the sheriff’s office said in February that the incident started when people called 911 on a group of motorcyclists who were pointing guns at people.

Barreto is alleged to have fled from an attempted traffic stop; deputies said they later found him at the Wawa in Orange County, WESH reported.

The sheriff’s office plans to hold a news conference about the incident Thursday, the station reported.

Lawyers for Barreto provided NBC News with a report on the incident from the Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives Investigations.

Video captured the moment Barreto became engulfed in flames while he and a deputy struggled on the ground, according to the report.

“Gasoline is pooling underneath them, soaking their clothing,” the report said. “At one point during the video, you can hear the Taser device cycle, then immediately see a flash ... then watch the fire travel from underneath the Deputies to everyone involved and back to the [dirt bike].”

Barreto’s lawyers said in the statement that he was not armed, that he has no criminal record and that he was followed 5 miles out of Osceola County into Orange County, where he stopped to fill up about a mile from his home.

The incident was prompted by the zero-tolerance policy for motorbike enthusiasts of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Barreto’s lawyers said. Barreto had been with dozens of other motorbike enthusiasts before deputies broke up the gathering, the attorneys said.

Barreto continues to need painful medical treatments and is in dire shape, his lawyers said.

“Mr. Barreto is still undergoing potentially life saving but excruciating ... treatment,” the statement said. “He is without skin on most of his body, his skin having been burned off. He undergoes procedures that require his dead skin to be routinely peeled off of his body.

"Mr. Barreto will again be placed in a medically induced coma over the next couple of days," the statement said.

Barreto’s lawyers, who also allege the sheriff’s office has not turned over body camera video and deputy reports, are asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to take over the investigation and the U.S. Justice Department to intervene. Neither organization could be reached for comment.