A man who was recently let go from his job in the New Orleans area resorted to some desperate measures. Allegedly, he devised a scheme to steal thousands of dollars in electronics from nearby stores, but his plan didn’t go as smoothly as expected. Once he was caught, the man tried to end his life by pretending he had a gun and pointing it at an off-duty police officer.
Austin Thompson, a 44-year-old man, was fired last week from his job as an “asset protection specialist,” or security guard, at a local Wal-Mart store. After being fired, Thompson allegedly decided to try to use his knowledge of the inner workings of security at Wal-Mart to hatch a scheme and steal thousands of dollars in electronics, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
According to the management at the Wal-Mart store Thompson was fired from, he returned to the store just three days after being fired and instructed an employee working in the electronics department to give him video game systems as part of an ongoing “loss-prevention investigation.” The employee complied and Thompson got away with the systems.
The next day, Thompson decided to try it again, this time at a different Wal-Mart across town. A police report states that Thompson called ahead to that store, representing himself as Wal-Mart security, and let them know that he would be by shortly. He instructed them to prepare 10 new iPhone 6 devices for him to pick up as part of an investigation.
This time, however, the employee realized it was an unusual request and contacted authorities. They quickly pieced together the story and readied themselves for Thompson to arrive. Thompson got to the store and requested the phones from electronics, but while he was waiting another security guard intervened to stop him.
Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Frank Serio, who was working his off-duty security detail at the store, confronted Thompson, who immediately fled the scene. Serio pursued Thompson through the store and out into the parking lot. According to the police report, when Thompson reached the parking lot, he stopped, turned toward the deputy, pulled something (a cell phone) from the waistband of his pants and “took a stance consistent with preparing to fire a pistol, and pointed the object at the deputy.”
Serio, clearly fearing for his life and the lives of the citizens around him, fired four shots at Thompson. Although none of the shots hit their intended mark, Thompson surrendered without further violence. When he was in custody, Thompson admitted to police that he was hoping that Serio would kill him.
“I just wanted the officer to kill me right then and there,” Thompson told police. “I just got tired… I just acted like I had a gun in my pants and took it out.”
Thompson was arrested and booked on attempted theft and aggravated assault upon a peace officer.
With police more on-edge than ever thanks to the rising anti-police sentiment in many areas of the country, combined with the rise on ambush-style attacks on LEO professionals, unfortunately those people looking to commit suicide by cop may have an easier time than ever to do so. Although official records aren’t kept on this phenomenon, due to the fact that it’s hard to ascertain the intentions of a victim of an officer-involved shooting, it is thought that around 10% of all police shootings are suicide by cop related.
Our advice is this: If you’re thinking about killing yourself, go seek out professional help. If all else fails, and you’ve decided to go through with the act, don’t take anyone with you and don’t force a police officer to pull the trigger. There’s plenty of help out there.
Written by Brett Gillin