A tragic shooting has prompted an inventor to create electric bullets aimed at helping police curb fatal shootings.

Dreams presaged Amadou Diallo’s death. His brother dreamt of grabbing a hand outstretched for help. His grandmother dreamt of a cow that couldn’t feed its calf. His mother dreamt in slow motion that she could feel Amadou even though he was in New York and she in Guinea, Africa.

“I felt him, I felt him, I felt him,” Kadiatou Diallo, Amadou’s mother, says of a sleep filled with sensations she had shortly before he died. “And I said to myself, ‘I miss him. I want to see my son.'”

By the time she booked a flight, Amadou’s body had absorbed 41 shots discharged by four New York City policemen who fired at an unarmed Diallo even as the velocity of the bullets spun him in an eerie dervish.

As often as they horrify, such deaths inspire. The circumstances surrounding Diallo’s 1999 demise were an odd combination of mortification and inspiration: a shocked mother became an activist, an appalled rock star penned a tribute to him, and an idea took life for inventor John LeBourgeois, who created a bullet that he told Discover Magazine he hopes will prevent such tragedies from recurring.

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