Anthony Caristo of Waramanga died after police were called to his home yesterday morning.
They found him injured and holding a large knife, and deployed a Taser to prevent him hurting himself more.
He fell into unconsciousness and could not be revived.
On Wednesday afternoon Mr Caristo’s family released a statement remembering a “much-loved son, brother, and uncle”.
“Our family are totally devastated … and extend our sympathies to everyone impacted by this tragedy,” the family said.
“We are cooperating fully with the police and anxiously await the outcome of a thorough investigation.”
The incident shocked neighbours in the Waramanga area, with some remembering Mr Caristo as a warm, friendly figure in the street.
Friend and neighbour Elizabeth Low said she will miss her encounters with Mr Caristo.
“Tony was a really lovely person, he loved dogs, he had an absolute love of the music of Paul Kelly and Tim Finn,” she said.
“We would often walk past his front yard, and he’d stop and pat the dogs and make a fuss over them.
“He always came across as a very genuine and lovely, lovely gentleman.”
Police defend taser usage
Earlier on Wednesday the ACT’s highest-ranked police officer, Assistant Commissioner Justine Saunders,
defended the use of Tasers.
She said when officers arrived they were faced with a difficult situation.
“[Mr Caristo] was covered in blood, there was blood around him, and he was in possession of what was a large knife,”
Chief Police Officer Justine Saunders said.
“Police could also see that the man had severe injuries to his body, including a severed finger.
“The man was not responsive, and unfortunately while [officers] were talking to the man he then struck his leg with the knife.”
Assistant Commissioner Saunders said officers called a third colleague, who was armed with a Taser.
“Police considered all the options available to them to ensure he couldn’t continue to hurt himself, and ensure in doing so that they maintained the safety of officers as well,” she said.
“On that basis a Taser, as its commonly known, was deployed by an officer on one occasion
… which had the effect intended, in that it disoriented the man.”
Mr Caristo was handcuffed by officers before they realised he had passed into unconsciousness.
Paramedics were called and CPR was performed for 25 minutes, but he could not be revived.
Taser rollout to continue
Assistant Commissioner Saunders said the officers had acted reasonably, and with Mr Caristo’s welfare in mind.
“Based on the facts known to me at this time, the police acted entirely appropriately,” she said.
“It’s yet to be determined what the cause of this man’s death is.”
The ACT is in the midst of a Taser rollout, and all officers are expected to be equipped with the weapons within four years.
Assistant Commissioner Saunders said Tasers had only been fired 11 times over the last recorded 12 months.
She said the rollout would continue, but Sam Tierney from Civil Liberties Australia said the incident was proof of how dangerous Tasers could be.
“We obviously understand the conflict between police protecting themselves in very difficult circumstances,” he said.
“But it has to always be measured against the fact that these can be lethal implements.
“They should only be used when there’s absolutely no other options available.”