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Hero Down: Fresno County Correctional Officer Toamalama ‘Malama’ Scanlan Succumbs To Gunshot Wounds

Paramount, CA – Fresno County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Correctional Officer IV Toamalama “Malama” Scanlan died in the line of duty on Tuesday due to gunshot wounds he suffered while responding to an active shooter in the jail lobby in 2016.

The 46-year-old correctional officer and his partner, fellow FCSO Correctional Officer Juanita Davila, were both unarmed when Thong Vang entered the lobby of the Main Jail on Sept. 3, 2016 and tried to barge his way to the front of the visitation line, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Vang was instructed to go to the back of the line, but he instead headed over to a metal detector that led to a secure area of the facility.

When the correctional officers tried to stop him and have him sit down, Vang pulled out a gun and shot them both in their heads, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Other correctional officers ran to the scene and were able to subdue the gunman.

Vang later testified he was strung out on methamphetamine and suffering from paranoia when he shot the correctional officers, The Fresno Bee reported.

He was convicted of attempted murder and was sentenced to 112 years to life in prison.

Correctional Officer Davila survived her wounds, but Correctional Officer Scanlan remained hospitalized for the rest of his life, The Fresno Bee reported.

He succumbed to his wounds at Kindred Hospital on Tuesday.

“Officer Scanlan was a brave man, and was selfless,” retired FCSO Correctional Officer Eulalio Gomez told The Fresno Bee. “He brought a Taser to a gunfight. That’s all he had at the time to help.”

Correctional Officer Scanlan served as a Fresno County probation officer for nearly eight years before joining the FCSO in April of 2006.

He was promoted to the rank of correctional officer IV in August of 2012 – just weeks before the shooting, The Fresno Bee reported.

He was assigned to Population Management at the time of the attack.

“As a retiree, I’ve come in contact with a number of ex-inmates [who would] ask how Scanlan was doing,” retired Correctional Officer Gomez told The Fresno Bee. “He was so respected, ex-gang members and gang members said they were praying for his recovery. He just left a big footprint in many lives. But his passing breaks so many hearts, as well.”

Correctional Officer Scanlon leaves behind his wife, Tepatasi, as well as four daughters and two sons, KSEE reported.

“Jennifer and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Correctional Officer Scanlan,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to Officer Scanlan’s family and friends, as well as those who served with him. We will never forget his sacrifice.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Officer IV Toamalama “Malama” Scanlan, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Correctional Officer Toamalama Scanlan, your life mattered.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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