PAHRUMP -- Iraq war veteran Joseph Patrick "Pat" Lamoureux was sentenced Tuesday to up to 10 years in prison for a shooting spree that left him and a Nye County sheriff's deputy wounded.
District Judge Robert Lane said the claim by public defender Tom Gibson that the Sept. 19, 2008, spree by Lamoureux was sparked by a bout of post-traumatic stress disorder "lacks credibility." Gibson said the disorder was related to Lamoureux's war experience with a Las Vegas-based Army Reserve unit in 2003. Witnesses were divided on the issue.
In a plea bargain in December, Lamoureux, 48, pleaded guilty to two felonies -- battery and assault with a deadly weapon -- and a gross misdemeanor of discharging a weapon.
Under the agreement, Nye County district attorney's office prosecuors dropped 12 other charges, including attempted murder, in the shooting of deputy Eric Murphy at Terrible's Lakeside RV Park. Lane gave Lamoureux credit for having served 2½ years in the Nye County jail.
Chief Prosecutor Kirk Vitto said Lamoureux had virtues as a soldier with the 257th Transportation Company, but "he went completely over the top" on the date of the shooting.
At Tuesday's hearing, Murphy and Nye County Detective David Boruchowitz reflected on the emotional stress they and their families endured after Lamoureux fired 61 rounds from two handguns while hiding behind boulders near a berm at the edge of the RV park.
Boruchowitz said he thought he was sending Murphy to a safe location at the berm.
Instead, "I was sending him directly in the path of the person who was trying to kill us."
Murphy was struck by three bullets.
"Knowing that Eric Murphy was probably somewhere on the back side of the berm needing help, we began to move forward where we thought the shots were coming from," Boruchowitz said.
"I saw Mr. Lamoureux laying by the rocks and took the first shot at him. He said he was 'out' and threw his arms up."
Murphy said that although he did not suffer life-threatening wounds, "there was a distinct moment there when I was laying in that ambulance that I thought I was going to die. I took off my wedding ring and gave it to Deputy (Kaycee) Otteson and told her to tell my wife that I love her. "
Lamoureux's wife, Sue, has said her husband snapped that day and was having nightmarish flashbacks of a suicide bomber attack involving a girl who walked toward his truck.
Two soldiers who served with Lamoureux -- his former first sergeant, Thomas Jennings, and retired truck master James McIntyre -- said the suicide bomber and other combat experiences that Lamoureux described for Veterans Affairs officials when he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder were not reported to them.
"I'm not saying it didn't happen. I'm saying I was never told," Jennings said.
Both said Lamoureux was a good soldier who did his job and followed orders.
Lamoureux's brother, retired Army Col. Christopher Lamoureux, who commanded a mortuary unit, said that when his brother returned from Iraq, "Patrick was a different person. The Army did change him. He had a psychological problem, and I encouraged him to go to the VA, and he did."
Joseph Patrick Lamoureux told the judge he did not recall what happened the night of the shooting spree.
"I am extremely remorseful for causing the horrible incident that morning, and I thank God for protecting deputy Murphy and the other officers involved," he said.
"My combat experiences in Iraq impact me deeply. You do not understand unless you have lived it."
Contact Keith Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0308.