A Mississippi sheriff’s deputy who was shot multiple times by an armed suspect is alive today, thanks to his bulletproof vest.
Authorities say that the deputy pretended to be dead as he was shot an additional two times in the chest. His department cited the vest as the reason he is still alive.
“That’s what, without any question, saved his life,” the sheriff said at a news conference. “No doubt in my mind and unequivocally had he not had that vest on he would have expired immediately.”
The situation began when Randy Vaught, 33, and two friends were pulled over after leaving a known drug house in Marshall County, Mississippi on Friday. Deputy Daniel Tatum initiated the traffic stop, but when asked to produce identification, the suspects took off in their vehicle.
Vaught reportedly drove the vehicle to his mother’s house, where his friends fled on foot. The two later told police that they had taken meth before being Tatum pulled them over. Vaught ran into the home, allegedly shooting Tatum as he attempted to follow him into the house.
According to reports, deputy Tatum was shot in the arm, shoulder and leg. He then played dead on the ground hoping he wouldn’t be shot in the head, Marshall County Sheriff Kenney 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.
— Luke Jones (@LukeJonesTV) April 13, 2019
As more units responded to the scene, Tatum was rescued and transported to a Memphis hospital where he underwent the first of what will surely be multiple surgeries.
Deputies continued the standoff with Vaught as he barricaded himself inside the home. During the 4-hour ordeal, Vaught reportedly took to social media to apologize to his family members, noting that he planned to surrender.
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
But when Vaught emerged from the house, he knelt, placed a gun to his head and took his own life. Vaught was reportedly out on bond for a statutory rape charge.
“He was very, very lucky,” Dickerson said about his deputy. “But you know that type of incident happens in law enforcement and every day life and you know you have to deal with them in a fair way and not violate anyone’s rights.”