Taser ( TASR) was in full damage control Wednesday night after its shares skidded 12% on a report of a fatality involving police use of its stun-gun.

Taser fell $9.57, or 12.2%, to $68.48 after a news Web site reported that a Maryland man died after being hit twice with a Taser by police responding to a domestic disturbance. The story on the WTOP radio site in Washington, D.C. said a medical examiner had yet to determine a cause of death in the incident, which happened in Rockville, Md.

Concerns about the possible lethality of Taser's police weapon have been a hot topic over the last two months following a pair of network news accounts of prisoners who died in police custody. On balance, the concerns have had little impact on the stock, which was trading south of $5 this time last year.

"We continue to be amazed by the premature, unfounded speculation in the media concerning the unexpected, unforeseen deaths of criminal suspects while in police custody after use of the Taser device," the company said in a lengthy release Wednesday. "In every single case the medical examiner has attributed the direct cause of death in the autopsy reports to causes other than the Taser device.

"The sensationalism of these reports in the media is extremely disconcerting given the proven safety of these products in tens of thousands of uses where we have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, that our technology greatly reduces injuries to suspects and officers."

The first crack in Taser's rags-to-riches stock market tale occurred a week ago Tuesday, when the company lost a quarter of its value after reporting first-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates by 2 cents a share. Bears on the heavily shorted Nasdaq issue pointed to metrics suggesting a slowdown in new business, trends the company said were imaginary.

The stock added back $1.12, or 1.6%, to $69.60 in after-hours trading.