Update: APD says officer ambushed and shot; officer in surgery, suspect dead

APD police vehicles (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage)
APD police vehicles (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

Update: 11:20 a.m.

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Anchorage police said that one of their officers had been “ambushed” and shot multiple times early Saturday morning. At a ten a.m. press conference, Anchorage Police Chief Christopher Tolley said that the officer is undergoing surgery for serious “but non life threatening wounds.” APD said the suspect, who has not been identified, was shot and killed by responding officers.

Tolley said the officer, whose name will not be released for a “few days,” was trying to identify a theft suspect near 5th Avenue and Cordova Streets at 4:36 a.m., Saturday morning when the man approached the officer and began shooting.

“It was a clear and intentional ambush,” Tolley said. “But it will take a while to sort through the information and conduct interviews of those involved and other potential witnesses, as well as collecting other evidence.”

Tolley said that he had seen video footage of the shooting, but said that police would be releasing few details about the incident.

“It wouldn’t be fair to put too much information out there right now because we don’t want witnesses to be swayed by the information that is put out there,” Tolley said.”

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz joined Chief Tolley at the press conference.

“It’s a reminder that when we hear sirens someone’s heading into danger, and they are doing it to make sure the entire community is safe.  The response of the police department reflects a tremendous amount of, not just professionalism, but courage,” Berkowitz said.

The Anchorage officer is the second Alaska police officer in less than a month to be ambushed and shot. Fairbanks Police Sergeant Allen Brandt was shot multiple times by a theft suspect he was attempting to contact on October 16. Brandt died twelve days later, from complications from his wounds.

Original story:

A suspect is dead and a police officer has been hospitalized in a shooting early Saturday in downtown Anchorage.

In a press release, the Anchorage Police Department wrote that an officer was responding to a report of a theft in the area of 5th Avenue and Cordova Street when a man brandishing a gun approached the officer’s patrol car and started shooting.

The officer was struck multiple times and was able to return fire. Another APD officer arrived at the scene as the the gunfire erupted and also shot at the suspect, according to the release.

Additional officers responded to the scene, rendering aid to the both officer and the suspect.

The suspect was shot multiple times and was declared dead at the scene.

The injured police officer was taken to a local hospital for emergency surgery and is expected to survive.

The State Office of Special Prosecutions will determine if the officers’ use of force was justified and APD’s Office of Internal Inspections will determine if their use of force was within department policy.

Both officers who fires their weapons have been placed on administrative leave for four days, per department policy, and their names will be released within 72 hours.

The Anchorage Police Department will be holding a press conference about the shootings at ten a.m., Saturday.

This is a breaking story. It will be updated with more information as it become available.


APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone.
Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA
elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

Josh is the Statewide Morning News Reporter/Producer for Alaska Public Media | jedge (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8455 | About Josh

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