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Monday, April 26, 2010

[NV] Fired, rehired NHP Trooper/State Fire Marshal Thatcher dies during domestic shooting rampage / SWAT standoff

Eric Thatcher's wife, children, and brother are safe. No officers or neighbors were hit.

A state fire marshal found dead after exchanging gunfire with police during a Thursday standoff at his house had been FIRED AND REHIRED as a highway patrol officer, recently SPLIT WITH HIS WIFE and had a separate home shadowed by foreclosure... Eric Thatcher's estranged wife, had called to check on Eric, who had been sending cryptic text messages for several days. She had recently moved out of the home... After her phone call Eric Thatcher began to tear the house apart and RETRIEVED SEVERAL HIGH-POWERED ASSAULT RIFLES from his gun safe... "He was sitting there with his guns, and I thought for sure he was going to shoot me. Sometimes he didn't know who I was and would accuse me of being in on the conspiracy," said [Eric's] brother Ron Thatcher... Police were called... [Ron] Thatcher said his 38-year-old brother HAD CONSIDERED SUICIDE SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE... Some neighbors say they counted more than 50 SHOTS BEFORE A SNIPER RETURNED FIRE... DPS OFFICIALS WERE AWARE  that Thatcher and his wife recently split... "but whatever PERSONAL THINGS in his life that might have led to this didn't reflect in his work"... POLICE CONFIRM, IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THIS, THEY WERE CALLED ON TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS TO CHECK UP ON THATCHER. Police say ON WEDNESDAY, THATCHER'S WIFE HAD CALLED them saying her husband had left her a disturbing message. Then, at midnight, LESS THAN 12 HOURS BEFORE THE STANDOFF BEGAN, POLICE GOT ANOTHER CALL saying Thatcher was distraught about getting a divorce. ON BOTH OCCASIONS, THATCHER REPORTEDLY TALKED POLICE INTO LEAVING HIS HOME...  Eric Thatcher's ANGER TOWARD POLICE continued to simmer, even as he began another career as a fire official... [RON] DOESN'T KNOW WHO CALLED POLICE, BUT SAID HE WOULD NEVER DO THAT TO HIS BROTHER, WHO HAD COME TO VIEW POLICE OFFICERS AS THE ENEMY. "Nevada Highway Patrol killed my brother a long time ago...

SUSPECT IN SWAT STANDOFF IDENTIFIED AS STATE FIRE MARSHAL
mynews3.com
Apr. 22, 2010
Updated: April 23, 2010
[Excerpts] A state official says a man found dead after barricading himself in a Henderson home was a Nevada state fire marshal. Nevada Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Gail Powell said Thursday the dead man was Eric Thatcher. He was a highway patrol trooper for six years and a state fire marshal for three years... Henderson city spokesman Bud Cranor says Henderson police evacuated nearby homes after gunfire about 11:30 a.m. in a hillside neighborhood... [Full article here]




NEVADA OFFICIAL DEAD AFTER SHOTS IN HENDERSON HOME
The Associated Press
April 23, 2010
A state fire marshal found dead after exchanging gunfire with police during a Thursday standoff at his house had been fired and rehired as a highway patrol officer, recently split with his wife and had a separate home shadowed by foreclosure... "He was doing a good job at the fire marshal's office," Jerry Hafen, Nevada state Department of Public Safety director, said after Eric Thatcher, a 38-year-old former trooper, was found dead in a two-story home in a hillside Henderson neighborhood... Henderson police spokesman Todd Rasmussen said it was not immediately clear if he was killed by police or took his own life... DPS officials were aware that Thatcher and his wife recently split, the agency director said, "but whatever personal things in his life that might have led to this didn't reflect in his work"... Several gunshots were fired from the house as officers arrived... including shots that hit neighboring houses and a police car... Police were initially summoned to the home on Auchmull Street by another man who had been inside the house but left when the homeowner fetched a gun... That man told police the homeowner was depressed and possibly suicidal...  [Full article here]




FIRE OFFICIAL DIES IN HOURS-LONG SWAT STANDOFF IN HENDERSON
Victim was state Fire Marshal investigator and former trooper

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Lawrence Mower
and href="mailto:aplanas@reviewjournal.com ">Antonio Planas
Apr. 22, 2010
A state Fire Marshal's office investigator died Thursday afternoon after a several-hour-long standoff with Henderson police... Department officials were aware that [Eric] Thatcher and his wife recently split, director Jerry Hafen told The Associated Press. Police were called to Thatcher's home over a family disturbance call after Thatcher pulled out a gun in front of a male family member. The person told police Thatcher was armed and depressed... Thatcher immediately began firing at officers through windows inside the home, striking at least one police car and several neighboring homes, Henderson police Chief Jutta Chambers said. Neighbors reported hearing dozens of shots fired during more than two hours as SWAT officers closed off the neighborhood... 30 and 50 shots were fired. Neighbor Steve Robredo said he could hear the shots over the drone of the news helicopters circling overhead. Chambers said Henderson SWAT officers tried to negotiate with the man, but he responded by firing again on police. A SWAT officer returned fire at least once. When police entered the home they found Thatcher dead inside... The Highway Patrol fired Thatcher in May 2005 after an internal investigation into his arrest of a hit-and-run suspect who accused him of using excessive force. After Thatcher challenged his firing, a hearing master determined the internal investigation was "seriously flawed" and reinstated the trooper with full back pay. He returned to the Highway Patrol for a time before voluntarily transferring to the state Fire Marshal's office, which is also under the Department of Public Safety... "I will always remember him as the courageous Highway Patrol trooper who stood up to the Highway Patrol when one of its investigators was withholding evidence, misrepresenting evidence and coercing false testimony," Thatcher's lawyer[Adam] Levine said... Neighbors in Thatcher's former Henderson neighborhood, near Lake Mead Parkway and Boulder Highway, where he lived for several years, were surprised and saddened to learn of his death. They said he had two children, a boy and a girl who were both under the age of 10. "He was a wonderful neighbor," Patricia Wiley said. "He was a really nice guy and a great father." Sven Peterson said he was "always very pleasant"... The Clark County coroner's office will release the official cause of Thatcher's death...  [Full article here]




FIRE OFFICIAL DEAD AFTER OPENING FIRE ON HENDERSON POLICE
KTNV.com
Apr 23, 2010 7:09 PM PDT
Henderson, NV (KTNV) - A Nevada state fire official is dead after opening fire on Henderson police from his home ... in response to a domestic dispute. Police say it didn't take long for the man inside the home to snap. Department of Public Safety spokesperson Gail Powell confirms the suspect killed in this standoff is 39-year-old Eric Thatcher, who's been employed by the state for 9 years. Thatcher spent six years as a trooper with Nevada Highway Patrol and spent the past three years working for the Nevada State Fire Marshall's office. Thatcher reportedly moved around from room to room inside his home firing at police from the windows. After hours of trying to negotiate, police say it was obvious Thatcher was irrational and had no intention of cooperating...  Police say several homes were struck and at least one Henderson police car was also pierced by gunfire. Despite the barrage of bullets... Those in the neighborhood who looked at Thatcher as a familiar face didn't think he would put them in harms way. "I felt like we were in good hands because he was in our neighborhood. I thought, wow we have a good guy in our neighborhood. I can't think what could possibly make his snap," said neighbor Julie Jones. Neighbors say Thatcher has a wife and two young children. No word on where they were at the time of this standoff. The officer who fired at Thatcher has been placed on paid administrative leave per department policy... Henderson Police confirm they were called to Thatcher's house twice before Thursday's shooting. Once call was made by Thatcher's wife and the other by a friend after he told his friend he was getting divorced...  [Full article here]




BROTHER RECALLS EFFORTS TO HELP
Victim agonized in hours before death
Las Vegas Review-Journal
By MIKE BLASKY
Apr. 24, 2010
Comments
In the 24 hours preceding a shootout with Henderson SWAT officers, a suicidal Eric Thatcher never loosened his grip on a handgun, claimed helicopters were watching the house, and at times did not recognize his older brother. "He was sitting there with his guns, and I thought for sure he was going to shoot me. Sometimes he didn't know who I was and would accuse me of being in on the conspiracy," said brother Ron Thatcher, 39, who took a last-second flight to Las Vegas from San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday to try to save his depressed sibling. Thatcher said his 38-year-old brother, a state fire marshal's office investigator and former Nevada Highway Patrol trooper, had considered suicide several times before but never attempted it. So he made Eric promise to call before he took his life. On Wednesday afternoon about 1 p.m., Eric Thatcher made that phone call. "He said, 'You told me I should give you one last call,' and then hung up"... Thatcher said his brother was in the worst shape he had seen. He tried every method he knew to talk him out of killing himself... His brother refused to put away the guns... Later that morning, after several hours of emotional discussion, Eric snapped. All hope Thatcher had of saving his brother was gone, he said. Malissa, Eric Thatcher's estranged wife, had called to check on Eric, who had been sending cryptic text messages for several days. Malissa had recently moved out of the home... She also took their two young children with her, which completely devastated Eric and was a major component in his depression, Thatcher said... After Malissa's phone call, the details of which Ron Thatcher doesn't know, Eric Thatcher began to tear the house apart and retrieved several high-powered assault rifles from his gun safe... A short time after Thatcher left the home, SWAT and patrol cars passed him on the road, he said. Less than 15 minutes later, he received a call on his phone from a police officer who asked whether his brother owned weapons. In the middle of the conversation, Thatcher said, he heard rapid gunfire through the phone speaker. The officer ended the call. But Thatcher kept walking. He doesn't know who called police, but said he would never do that to his brother, who had come to view police officers as the enemy. "Nevada Highway Patrol killed my brother a long time ago. I believe it 100 percent in my soul," he said. Eric Thatcher's problems with depression began in 2005, when the then-Highway Patrol trooper was fired after an internal investigation into his arrest of a hit-and-run suspect who accused him of using excessive force. After he challenged his firing, a hearing master determined the internal investigation was "seriously flawed" and reinstated him with full back pay... Despite regaining his job, he never felt accepted by fellow troopers. Eric Thatcher believed he was one misstep away from being back-stabbed by his bosses, which began to wear on him psychologically. Ron Thatcher said his brother didn't take any prescription medications. He was a "perfectionist" who had never done a bad deed in his life, Ron Thatcher said, and being investigated and treated like a criminal really shook him... Eric Thatcher's anger toward police continued to simmer, even as he began another career as a fire official. When Henderson police officers checked the home two separate times earlier in the week in response to friends reporting concerns about his safety, Eric Thatcher believed officers were conspiring to stalk his house, waiting for him to do something, Ron Thatcher said. "He thought that once the police came, that was his wife's opportunity to have him never see the kids again," he said. "That was when he went nuts and started saying he was going to kill himself." Henderson Police Department officials said details of the incident will be released at a Clark County coroner's inquest at a later date... "(Our family) loved him and will miss him," Ron Thatcher said. "It is really a hard thing to deal with, and my only hope is that my brother has found peace"...  [Full article here] [Full article here]




FIRE MARSHAL SAID DIVORCE WAS NEAR HOURS BEFORE DYING IN STANDOFF
KTNV.com
Updated: Apr 23, 2010 11:33 PM PDT
Henderson Police say they were called to home of a state fire official less than 12 hours before the standoff that ended with him dead... Thatcher's wife had reportedly called police a day before the deadly standoff, saying he had left her a disturbing message...  The former NHP trooper was employed as a state fire marshal when police say he could've taken the lives of officers and neighbors. Home video captured by a neighbor gave a glimpse into the gunfire coming from Thatcher's home. Some neighbors say they counted more than 50 shots before a sniper returned fire... Police confirm, in the days leading up to this, they were called on two separate occasions to check up on Thatcher. Police say on Wednesday, Thatcher's wife had called them saying her husband had left her a disturbing message. Then, at midnight, less than 12 hours before the standoff began, police got another call saying Thatcher was distraught about getting a divorce. On both occasions, Thatcher reportedly talked police into leaving his home... Police say on both previous occasions Thatcher seemed fairly rational. He even explained that a divorce was in his near future. Responding officers didn't suspect it would spiral into what it did. Thatcher had been a state trooper for six years before transferring to the State Fire Marshal's office...  [Full article here]

NEIGHBORS STILL RATTLED AFTER TWO STANDOFFS
8newsnow.com
Posted: Apr 23, 2010
...Thatcher had recently separated from his wife... With SWAT teams aiming at Thatcher through neighborhood windows, the amount of damage is not surprising. But across the street, innocent neighbors were simply caught in the crossfire... The neighbor says the four hours she and her daughters spent hiding in their kitchen were horrifying.... While some homes were evacuated after the shooting began, many families were sheltered in place, which means they were stuck in their homes hiding for hours...  [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence (IPV) abuse law enforcement public safety nevada lethal suicidal repeat hx teflon preferential]

18 comments:

  1. He was allowed to talk officers away from his home on the earlier calls. Was that a professional favor? Who did it benefit?

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  2. At the point that the officers walked away, he had committed no crimes, was behaving rationally, and was giving no indication that he was a danger to himself or to others.

    The officers really had no choice but to leave. It was not a professional favor, and it benefits the judicial process when the bill of rights is followed.

    It's unfortunate how it ended, but let's not lay blame on anyone other than the man responsible.

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  3. Sad to say, but unless a person presents a clear danger to himself or others, there is NOTHING the police can do. Obviously, this guy had some major mental health issues but legally, there was nothing the police could have done until he did what he did later on... and by then it was too late.

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  4. At the root of this I "blame" the rotten deeds of the arbitration process.

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  5. Was this suicide by cop?

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  6. Once again, a Las Vegas area officer goes postal! Maybe if you didnt hire former Jack in the Box employees with no life experience, you would not have these weak minded people as police! Someone with my background in law enforcement cant get hired out here because I think outside the box!

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  7. hey mike your an idiot did u even know thatcher??? U can suck it....RIP Eric Thatcher....

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  8. He was NOT a former Jack in the Box employee, he HAD life experience and was NOT weak minded. Maybe you should STOP being so bitter because you can't get hired!

    From a dear friend of Eric's.

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  9. THURSDAY ARMED STANDOFF: Coroner says man's death in standoff was suicide
    Inquest to be held in fire investigator's death
    Las Vegas Review-Journal
    By ANTONIO PLANAS
    Apr. 27, 2010
    [Excerpts] The state fire marshal's investigator who died in a standoff last week with Henderson police took his own life, the Clark County coroner's office ruled Tuesday. Eric Jason Thatcher, 38, died from a self-inflicted "intra-oral" gunshot wound to the head, the coroner said, and not by an officer's bullet. Police arrived at Thatcher's home about 11:30 a.m. Thursday on the 2700 block of Auchmull Street, south of Sun City Anthem Drive. He immediately began firing at officers through house windows, striking at least one police car and several adjacent residences... Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said a coroner's inquest will be held in Thatcher's death, even though the fatal gunshot was self-inflected. An inquest is not uncommon in suicides when officers shoot toward someone, he said, and the hearing will "answer all the questions that may have arisen as a result of this case"... Ritch Melchert, a 10-year police department veteran, has been placed on routine paid administrative leave for firing his weapon during the incident, according to Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul... [Eric Thatcher's brother] Ron said that Eric and his wife had separated and that she had taken their two young children. And although that was a major factor in his depression, Ron said Eric also never recovered from his battle with the Highway Patrol... Eric wrote that he was a "peacemaker" and "gentle spirit" before his legal fight with the agency. "I was good until their lies and conspiracy destroyed me," he wrote. "It ruined my soul. I used to be good. Now I don't care." [Full article here]

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  10. Eric Thatcher was a Seattle Cop in the mid to late 90's before going to Nevada. He was a good guy.

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  11. I worked with him in a two man car for 2.5 years in Seattle. He was a good cop, professional and never a problem. The events at NHP should be looked at.

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  12. Do you know why he left?

    My ex used to work there too. It's a pretty decent department compared to others.

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    Replies
    1. He left to help his father who was very ill. He worked for his brother in Cali @ 24 hour fitness before going to NHP.

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    2. HE LEFT TO CARE FOR HIS FATHER WHO WAS VERY SICK. WORKED FOR HIS BROTHER @ A 24 HR FITNESS IN CALI BEFORE GOING TO NHP.

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  13. I know his mother, and two sisters. Rest in Gods Arms. I am sad. SLH

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  14. AnonymousJune 07, 2010

    Eric was a good cop and a good guy. Never say never, you don't know what will push you over the edge.
    Wife

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  15. AnonymousJuly 28, 2010

    I knew Eric for over 18 years. He was an honest, really good person, but worked in a profession where he saw the worst in people. It was too much for him. He wrote poetry and published his words prior to passing away. You can see his writing and understand his pain. Here is were you can see it:

    http://www.amazon.com/Great-American-Poet-Eric-Thatcher/dp/1439234035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280342467&sr=8-1

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  16. AnonymousJuly 15, 2013

    Eric Thatcher was set up by Internal Affairs Trooper Rob Stepian. The hearing judge caught him in several lies, yet
    Stepian was promoted. This man has blood on his hands and is a disgrace to all law enforcement officers nationwide.

    ReplyDelete

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