Deckhand arrested in killing of shrimp boat captain

Tam Thanh Ta
Tam Thanh Ta

A Bay St. Louis deckhand has been arrested on a murder charge in the slaying of a shrimp boat captain in Venice, La.

Tam Thanh Ta., 44, of Bayou La Croix Road was arrested in Plaquemines Parish, La., in the homicide of Tao Dinh Nguyen of Mobile.

Ta and Nguyen worked together on the Captain Ben 4, a 60-foot trawl boat based in Biloxi.

Nguyen’s body was found floating in Pass Tante Phine/Sugar Lake Bayou about 7:15 a.m. Aug. 3, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff Gerald A Turlich Jr. said in a news release.

An autopsy showed Nguyen died of blunt force trauma, Turlich said.

Evidence submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory linked Ta on Wednesday to the homicide, Turlich said.

Ta was already in custody at the Plaquemines Parish jail when he was arrested on the murder charge. He had been taken into custody Aug. 2 on a probation warrant from the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Convicted in Biloxi pursuit

Ta was on probation on an April 2015 felony eluding conviction in Harrison County.

The conviction involved his arrest by Biloxi police in a pursuit in December 2011 that ended when his car crashed and damaged seven vehicles. The pursuit began on Interstate 10 near Woolmarket and ended in the parking lot of R.A. Lesso Seafood on Bayview Avenue near Lee Street.

Police had tried to stop him on suspicion of impaired driving. They blew out one of his tires but said he continued driving on three tires and a rim. A K-9 bit him during the apprehension.

No information was given on when Nguyen disappeared from the boat.

Ta is held with no bond. The charge is second-degree murder.

Turlich said Ta’s arrest came after a tip was received.

Agencies assisting in the investigation include the Biloxi Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and Louisiana State Police.