MO Deputy Saved by Ballistic Vest, Suspected Gunman Found Dead

A Missouri sheriff’s deputy is recovering after being shot when he responded to the report of a domestic disturbance Thursday. Officials say the deputy’s ballistic vest likely saved his life despite having been penetrated by buckshot, according to a state trooper.

Cpl. Dallas Thompson, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, provided details to KHQA during a media briefing following the shooting.

Domestic Disturbance

Thompson said about 6:24 p.m. the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office dispatched deputies to a home for a reported domestic disturbance. Deputies arrived and encountered a man in the front yard who started shooting at them. One deputy was struck in the chest.

“I spoke with one of the representatives from the sheriff's office, they said that they feel that that vest probably saved his life. A couple of the shots, buckshot I believe, went through the vest and into his chest,” explained Thompson.

Thompson said the officer was taken to the hospital and Thursday night was reported to be in stable condition and was being kept for evaluation.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with our deputy and his loved ones as we rally around him during this difficult period," Sheriff Rick Harrell said in a statement. "Acts of violence like these are a stark reminder of the risks our law enforcement undertake every day to protect and serve the community."

Locating the Suspect

According to Thompson, following the shooting the suspect set the house on fire and then ran toward a shed. The state patrol’s SWAT team responded to help locate the suspected gunman and deployed a drone that found the man lying inside the shed on the back side of the property.

“We made some attempts to make contact with the individual. No contact was made. So, the SWAT team entered into the building and found the individual deceased,” added Thompson.

Suspect Identified

Police have identified the deceased man as 54-year-old Thomas Varvera, according to KSDK.

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