Mark Murphy nearly got the “shock” of a lifetime during Tuesday’s late meeting of the Stephenville City Council.

Murphy, sitting next to Mayor Pro-Tem Todd McEvoy, watched as council members passed around and sometimes jokingly played with a seemingly dead TASER.

A TASER is a small gunlike device that police use to fire electric darts to incapacitate a person temporarily.

When the TASER reached McEvoy, McEvoy turned toward Murphy, pulled the trigger and sparks flew, prompting McEvoy to disclose that the TASER was live and those in the audience to cringe and then burst into laughter.

Afterward, Murphy joked that maybe McEvoy was “going to get me back for opposing him on some pet issue of his.”

“Actually, we all had no idea the thing was operational,” Murphy said. “Just before handing it to me, Todd had fiddled with the controls a bit and it went off. Luckily, I didn’t reach for it, and I was in a room full of people who know CPR in case I had.”

Stephenville Police Chief Roy Halsell had passed the TASER out to council members as an example of TASERs that he wanted to use drug forfeiture funds to buy for the department.

Halsell had not assembled the TASER to fire electronic darts, but it still retained a charge enough to send sparks flying Murphy’s way.

“I think all the council members should get one of those (TASERs) before meetings,” Murphy said. “Some of our heated discussions would then be really interesting to watch on TV.”

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.