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Wounded Deputy Fakes Being Dead After Suspect Shoots Him Several Times

By Tiffany Meier

A wounded deputy in Mississippi faked being dead after a car chase led to an exchange of gunfire with an armed suspect. While lying on the ground, the gunman approached and shot the deputy a couple more times in the chest.

Marshall County Sheriff Kenney Dickerson said the deputy’s bulletproof vest saved his life.

“That’s what, without any question saved his life,” Dickerson said during a press conference on Saturday, April 13. “One or two projectiles were visible on the inner layer of the vest.”

LIVE: Marshall County Sheriff's Office press conference about suspect in barricade and officer-involved shooting incident

WATCH LIVE: The Marshall County Sheriff's Office is hosting a press conference about Friday's officer-involved shooting and barricade situation. Officials identified the deceased suspect on Saturday as Randy Vaught.MORE: http://via.wreg.com/xCSQt

Posted by WREG News Channel 3 on Saturday, April 13, 2019

On Friday, Deputy Daniel Tatum confronted Randy Vaught, 33, during a narcotics investigation. When Deputy Tatum asked Vaught for his license and registration, Vaught didn’t have either and instead took off on a high-speed chase to his mother’s house, reported WREG.

When he arrived at the house, Vaught’s two companions took off, and Vaught entered his mother’s house through a back door, Dickerson said. When Deputy Tatum tried to follow Vaught through the back door, Vaught shot him multiple times, Dickerson said, including in the leg and arm.

As Deputy Tatum lay bleeding on the wooden porch, he played dead, hoping he wouldn’t be shot in the head, Dickerson said.

“But as it turned out, the suspect did in fact approach him—and him lying there helpless—and shot him several more times in the chest area,” Dickerson said.

After shooting Deputy Tatum, Vaught returned inside the house, where he barricaded himself, Dickerson said.

For the next two and a half hours of the standoff, deputies tried to convince Vaught to come out over a loudspeaker. Dickerson said he personally knew the suspect, and Vaught’s mother asked him to help convince her son to surrender peacefully.

“From probably six years old on up through his teens I saw him almost two or three times a week,” Dickerson said. During that time, Vaught kept darting in and out of the house. Deputies cut power to the house and tear gas was used in an attempt to get Vaught outside.

About four hours after the standoff began, a little after 10 p.m., Vaught emerged from the house and began walking towards him, Dickerson said. Vaught mumbled something about asking God for forgiveness.

“Suddenly, he just stopped and he knelt to his knees and pulled a handgun from the waistband there with the shorts he was wearing, put it to the side of his head and pulled the trigger,” Dickerson said.

“He left a suicide note directed to his mother about what he was going to do and apologizing for it and so forth,” Dickerson added.

Vaught was already out of jail on a $100,000 bond for statutory rape, Dickerson said.

He said witnesses saw Vaught take crystal meth earlier that day, which likely contributed to his behavior.

“These drugs, particularly now crystal meth and heroin, they’re taking a toll on our young people and on a lot of families,” Dickerson said.

“I hate that he shot himself. Death is tragic under any circumstances,” He said.

“In my honest opinion, had he not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, I could have talked him out immediately,” Dickerson added.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the case, reported WMC.

As for Deputy Tatum, when other deputies arrived on the scene, they rescued the wounded officer. He was transported by helicopter to Regional One in Memphis where he underwent surgery, according to WREG.

Despite being shot three to eight times in total, Deputy Tatum was alert Saturday morning after getting surgery on his leg. Dickerson said Deputy Tatum still faces more surgeries.

“He was very, very lucky,” Dickerson said of Tatum. “But you know that type of incident happens in law enforcement and everyday life and you know you have to deal with them and you have to deal with them in a fair way and not violate anyone’s rights.”