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December 18, 2014

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Coroner’s jury rules man’s death in standoff a suicide

Man barricaded

A Clark County coroner’s inquest jury on Friday ruled the April death of a state fire marshal a suicide.

Eric Thatcher, a 38-year-old former highway patrol trooper, was found dead April 22 in a two-story home in the 2700 block of Auchmull Street in Henderson after firing several shots in the direction of officers. An officer fired back, but the coroner’s jury determined the death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot.

The coroner’s office had ruled in April that the death was a suicide, the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Henderson Police spokesman Todd Rasmussen said officers were called about 11:30 a.m. on a report that a depressed man had barricaded himself in a home near Democracy Drive and Anthem Highlands Drive.

The call was made by a man who had left the home because he didn't feel safe around Thatcher and a gun, police said. There hadn’t been a dispute between the men, but Thatcher had made suicidal statements, police said.

Rasmussen said a SWAT team evacuated nearby homes and police negotiators were called to the scene.

During the standoff, a SWAT officer fired his weapon. A SWAT team then entered the home and authorities found Thatcher dead. No other injuries were reported, but bullets struck neighboring homes and police cars, Rasmussen said.

Thatcher was a highway patrol trooper for six years and a state fire marshal for three years.

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