Rape suspect shot by Loudon County
LENOIR CITY (WATE) – A man wanted for rape is dead after he was shot by Loudon County deputies Wednesday afternoon.
Thongsavanh Vandarack, 40, of Murfreesboro was killed after a pulled out a handgun, according to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. They said officers were serving Vandarack a warrant for statutory rape at a home on Grandview Drive in Lenoir City.
After Vandarack pulled out a gun, TBI said deputies fired their weapons multiple times, hitting him. He was taken to UT Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“Right after it happened they were in total shock. They never had to shoot anyone before, they never had to pull the trigger,” said Loudon County Sheriff Tim W. Guider. Guider said Vandarack had a violent history and officers knew it
The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office says the two deputies involved are on administrative leave and both have been on the force for at least 20 years. They will receive mandatory counseling.
“They’re operating under the theory of what is commonly known as suicide by cop, there is strong indication that both he knew that this was coming and intended to do that based on a recorded interview with the suspects girlfriend,” said 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson.
Attorney general identifies suspect shot by Loudon County deputies
LOUDON, Tenn. (WVLT) -- According to the attorney general, the man shot by Loudon County deputies is Thongsavanh Vandarack. Vandarack's listed address on his driver's license is in Murfreesboro.
District Attorney General Russell Johnson says this situation appears to have been inspired by what is commonly known as "suicide by cop." Johnson said Vandarack's girlfriend said Vandarack expected his upcoming arrest on a felony charge. She said he knew he would go back to prison and serve a remaining sentence out of Wisconsin. She said he planned to die in this way.
Vandarack had previous convictions in the state of Wisconsin for attempted homicide and other felonies. He was sentenced up to 49 years in prison and he served a large portion, but not all, of that sentence. He was in prison from 1993 until 2010.
At some point after his release from prison in Wisconsin, his parole was transferred to Tennessee. This was allowed through the Interstate Compact, which allows for transfers of parolees or probationers between states for parole or probation supervision. A parole officer in Murfreesboro was in charge of monitoring Vandarack.
Vandarack was convicted of a DUI charge in 2012 and spent two years in prison.
Investigators are working to confirm Vandarack's suspected gang affiliation from authorities in Wisconsin.
The attorney general says Loudon County deputies knew about Vandarack's violent history when they went to a home on Grand View Drive to arrest Vandarack. Two deputies stood outside the home in positions to guard against a potential flee attempt by Vandarack. Vandarack's girlfriend let the other two deputies inside the home and called for Vandarack into the room. According to investigators, Vandarack stepped out of the kitchen with both hands in his pockets. When they ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets, Vandarack pulled out what appeared to be a handgun. That's when the officers fired shots and Vandarack was hit several times.
First responders brought Vandarack to UT Regional Hospital. Investigators believe he died en route or at the hospital.
An autopsy will be performed to confirm cause of death and if there were any drugs in Vandarack's system.
The deputies were there to serve a warrant on an aggravated statutory rape charge involving Vandarack and a 13-year-old girl.
The two officers are on administrative leave and will receive counseling, as is standard operating procedure. They will return to to regular duty when they have completed counseling and feel comfortable going back to work.