Police officer kills Point Hope man who shot at residents and buildings, troopers say

A pair of whale bones along a road in the Northwest Alaska village of Point Hope. (File/KNOM)

A North Slope Borough police officer killed a man in Point Hope on Wednesday after he shot at residents and buildings, according to Alaska State Troopers. 

Troopers identified the man as 40-year-old Point Hope resident Robert Nash.

According to a trooper report posted online Thursday morning, troopers were informed at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday of the shooting. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation responded to the village, about 330 miles southwest of Utqiagvik.

Troopers say, according to the bureau’s preliminary investigation, Nash had been firing a rifle at residents and buildings in the community of nearly 900 people.

Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel said Nash was armed with a 30-06 rifle. The borough police officer in Point Hope received two calls reporting gunfire, the first at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“(T)he officer was unable to locate anyone firing a weapon and there were no further shots heard,” McDaniel said in an email. “On (Wednesday) at approximately 11 a.m., a new call came in stating that shooting had started again.”

Staff at the local AC store in Point Hope, reached at midday Wednesday, said the village was on lockdown. McDaniel said troopers never called for a lockdown, but couldn’t confirm whether one was in place.

The police officer found Nash armed with a long gun Wednesday on the outskirts of town, according to the trooper report.

“The officer gave commands to Nash to drop the firearm, however, he refused and pointed the weapon at the officer,” said the trooper report. “Due to the actions of Nash, the NSBPD officer fired their duty weapon, striking Nash.”

Nash was taken immediately to the Point Hope clinic, where he died, said troopers. Nobody else was injured during the incident.

McDaniel said the officer fired multiple shots at Nash. Nash’s body was sent to the state medical examiner, and McDaniel said an autopsy would determine how many times the officer struck Nash and where.  

Why Nash opened fire remains under investigation.

There wasn’t any word from the borough Friday morning on the identity of the officer who shot Nash.

Troopers say Nash’s family has been notified.

Nash’s shooting is being examined by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation. Its work will be reviewed by the state Office of Special Prosecutions.

KNOM’s Greg Knight contributed reporting.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional details from Alaska State Troopers.

a portrait of a man outside

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him atcklint@alaskapublic.org.Read more about Chrishere.

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