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Saturday, July 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Tenn. Suspect Killed as Deputies Serve Warrant

(CN) - Loudon County, Tenn., sheriff's deputies shot and killed a man while trying to serve an arrest warrant for a rape charge, officials said.

Thongsavanh Vandarack, 40, died Wednesday afternoon as law enforcement agents tried to arrest him on a charge of aggravated statutory rape, according to a press release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson.

Four investigators from the Loudon County Sheriff's Office showed up at Vandarack's girlfriend's residence in a county subdivision around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the press release states.

They knew Vandarack had a violent criminal history, so two deputies reportedly took up positions outside the house while two others were let inside by the girlfriend.

"According to statements from both investigators, Vandarack stepped out of the kitchen area with both hands in his pockets. He was ordered to take his hands out of his pockets," Johnson's press release states. "Vandarack brought his hands up with what appeared to be a handgun and both investigators opened fire, shooting multiple times at him."

The suspect was hit by gunfire several times and a medical helicopter was called to take him to an area hospital. He was alive when he was put in the helicopter but he died on the way to or at the hospital, according to Johnson.

Johnson said the situation appears to have been a "suicide by cop." Vandarack's girlfriend reportedly told investigators that was indeed his plan.

Vandarack's aggravated statutory rape charge alleged that he had a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl, according to Johnson's office.

He had previously been convicted in Wisconsin of attempted homicide and related felonies, which kept him behind bars until 2010. His parole was transferred to Tennessee and he was monitored by a Tennessee Department of Corrections parole officer.

Vandarack was jailed again in 2012 for a DUI charge, and he was released in 2014. His driver's license listed a Murfreesboro, Tenn., address.

Johnson said his office is awaiting confirmation from authorities of Vandarack's suspected gang affiliation.

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