MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Marshall County deputy is recovering in Regional One after being shot multiple times Friday by a suspect fleeing deputies who eventually committed suicide.
Marshall County Sheriff Kenneth Dickerson says his deputy is lucky to be alive.
Deputy Daniel Tatum had another surgery on Monday, and WMC5 was told it went well.
The Marshall County Sheriff's Office says Tatum is a brave, outstanding deputy who could have easily been killed Friday night.
“A first class officer,” Dickerson said. “No complaints ever. Does real good work, comes from a real good family. He’s one of the best. Soon as he’s able, his job will be waiting for him and I hope that’s soon. But he’s going to have a long time recovering based on what we heard last night.”
With no shirt or shoes on, suspect Randy Vaught walked in and out of his mother's home during a four-hour standoff with the SWAT team after shooting Tatum.
The standoff ended when Vaught took his own life with a handgun.
“I was hoping still that it would not end the way it did,” Dickerson said.
Vaught shot Tatum on the back porch of his mother’s home after a high-speed pursuit.
Dickerson said Vaught then walked up to Tatum and shot him point blank three more times in the chest. The sheriff said Tatum played dead while he was bleeding on the porch.
“He’s very, very lucky,” Dickerson said. “Very, very lucky.”
A bulletproof vest saved Tatum’s life.
“One or two projectiles, once his vest was removed to get medical attention, one or two projectiles were visible on the inner layer of the vest,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson says he's known Vaught for most of his life. He was called directly by Vaught’s mother to help convince him to give up peacefully.
He said witnesses saw Vaught smoke crystal meth that day.
“In my honest opinion, had he not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, I could have talked him out immediately,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson says he is hopeful Tatum will be able to return to his job. Tatum has a long road left to full recovery.