Rape suspect shot by Loudon County deputy was ‘suicide by cop’
LENOIR CITY (WATE) – District Attorney General Russell Johnson is releasing new details in a deadly shooting involving a gang member.
“This one was a pretty clear cut situation,” said Johnson. “He knew that he was the subject of this investigation involving charges of aggravated statutory rape, as was his girlfriend. According to statements that the girlfriend made and her oldest daughter made to TBI, he knew he was possibly going to be arrested and said he didn’t want to go back to prison.”
During an interview with Vandarack’s girlfriend, she said he planned to entice law enforcement to shoot and kill him upon his arrest. Melody Tefler said Vandarack took her son’s AirSoft pistol and removed the orange plastic tip placed on the gun by the manufacturer so that it would look like an actual handgun.
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.