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Slain Nye County deputy, gunman identified

Updated Tuesday, April 27, 2010 | 7:40 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Deputy Ian Deutch

Click to enlarge photo

James Lacy Chaffin

Terrible's Lakeside Casino

The Nye County Sheriff's Office has identified the man who killed a sheriff's deputy Monday at the Terrible’s Lakeside Casino and RV in Pahrump as 30-year-old James Lacy Chaffin.

Deputy Ian Deutch, 27, was airlifted to University Medical Center after the shooting. UMC spokesman Rick Plummer said Deutch underwent emergency surgery. He died Monday night.

Chaffin was shot to death by another deputy.

Nye County Sheriff Anthony DeMeo said deputies were responding to a report of a domestic argument and gunfire at a home a short distance from the casino, but went to the casino after the female victim called 911 and said she was seeking safety there.

Authorities said the incident started as a domestic dispute about 3:45 p.m. between the gunman and a woman. The man followed the woman to the casino, where he drew a rifle from his vehicle and opened fire on deputies without warning, the Nye County Sheriff's Office said.

DeMeo said the gunman's SKS assault rifle pierced the officer's bulletproof vest. Deutch was shot several times.

Another deputy in the marked sheriff's department pickup truck escaped injury, while a third deputy arriving in another vehicle fired four shots, killing Chaffin.

DeMeo said Deutch was a sheriff's department veteran with several years on the job before deploying with his Nevada Army National Guard unit to Afghanistan.

Nevada Guard Sgt. Erick Studenicka in Carson City said he was among some 700 members of the 1st Squadron, 221st Calvary who returned in March after serving nine months of convoy escort and counterinsurgency missions in Afghanistan.

No members of the unit died during the deployment, Studenicka said. Deutch was on his second day on the job after returning from service in Afghanistan, DeMeo said.

Deutch was a meritorious service medal winner, a squad leader and a forward artillery observer who identified Taliban targets for artillery strikes outside combat outpost Nagil, said Lt. Col. Scott Cunningham, a Las Vegas resident and commanding officer of Deutch's guard unit.

"He's one of those guys, his full-time job is a police officer and his part-time job is a soldier," Cunningham told The Associated Press. "He's always been out there trying to help people and make a contribution to society.

"What a first-rate guy he was. What a sense of loss this is."

Gov. Jim Gibbons has ordered state flags to be lowered to half-staff Saturday during Deutch's funeral services.

The on-duty death was the first for the Nye County Sheriff's Office since August 1992, when Deputy Gary Raymond Downs died of a heart attack while arresting a combative suspect, DeMeo said.

Pahrump is about 50 miles west of Las Vegas.

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