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Lombardo says slain officer did everything right: ‘Sometimes evil overcomes’

Updated December 16, 2022 - 9:53 am

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Thursday that officer Truong Thai was fatally shot while wearing a IIIA vest, which can only protect up to a .357- or .44-caliber round.

Thai was fatally shot on Oct. 13 when a bullet from an AK-47 pistol pierced his bulletproof vest while he was responding to a domestic dispute.

The suspect, Tyson Hampton, 24, was charged with murder, attempted murder and domestic battery.

Lombardo said Thursday that Thai followed all Metropolitan Police Department protocol, but the shooting is still under investigation.

“We obviously do a very comprehensive review of any officer-involved shooting, especially ones that involve death,” Lombardo said.

Thai was alone when he approached Hampton, who was sitting in a car near South University Center Drive and East Flamingo Road. Lombardo said that even if a second officer would have approached from the passenger side, he does not think that could have changed the circumstances.

“It was no fault of his own,” Lombardo said of Thai’s actions. “He did everything by the book in my opinion, and sometimes evil overcomes.”

Metro officers are required to buy their own bulletproof vests with an annual stipend. The minimum federal required vest is a IIA, which protects against a 9 mm or a .40-caliber round.

The vest that could have saved Thai’s life, a heavy, more expensive tactical vest, is typically only worn by SWAT officers. Lombardo did not recommend it for patrol officers.

“It’s just not practical for a patrol officer to do their daily job,” Lombardo said.


Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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