LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (AP) — A man wanted on rape charges is dead after he was shot in Tennessee on Wednesday as deputies tried to arrest him.
District Attorney General Russell Johnson said in a statement that Thongsavanh Vandarack had previously served 17 years in a Wisconsin prison for crimes that included attempted homicide.
According to Johnson's account of events, because of Vandarack's violent history, four Loudon County deputies went to Vandarack's home to serve a warrant for a statutory rape charge after the 40-year-old was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Two deputies took up positions outside the home to prevent Vandarack from fleeing while two others were let inside by Vandarack's girlfriend.
Vandarack entered the room with his hands in his pockets, and when the deputies ordered him to remove them he brought out what appeared to be a handgun. Both investigators opened fire.
Vandarack was shot repeatedly and pronounced dead at a hospital.
In an interview after the shooting, Vandarack's girlfriend told investigators Vandarack did not want to return to prison. She said it was Vandarack's plan to provoke a "suicide by cop" situation.
Vandarack was of Laotian descent. Johnson did not name the officers or identify their race.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is continuing to probe the shooting. Both of the deputies involved are on administrative leave and will receive counseling, as is standard procedure.