Security footage calls into question Anchorage police account of fatal shooting

a woman holding a phone.
Virginia Miller reviews security footage of a police shooting captured on the morning of May 13, 2024. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

At about 2:15 a.m. Monday, Virginia Miller’s dog woke her up. She said she looked out her apartment window and saw her neighbor, 34-year-old Kristopher Handy, yelling at a woman. She said he had a long gun. 

“I think at that point, the cops had been called for a domestic disturbance,” said Miller, who lives in Anchorage’s Sand Lake neighborhood. “This is not an abnormal occurrence for them. Never any physical, but a lot of yelling.”

Miller said she saw Handy go inside his home for about 10 minutes before police arrived. She said he then walked out with his gun, and walked to the officers.

“They’re calling him, they’re giving him orders to put his hands up,” she said. “And they shoot him almost mid-order. It was .1 seconds after giving him an order to put his hands up that they shot him.”

Handy was killed. 

Now Miller is going public with her account of the incident and releasing her security footage because she said she does not agree with what police say happened. Police have said Handy pointed a gun at officers before they opened fire. Miller said he did not. She wants police to release their body camera footage, and so does Handy’s family. This is the first time Anchorage officers have had body cameras on when fatally shooting someone.

“I see one thing on my camera,” Miller said. “And they’re saying he pointed the gun, and I’ve slowed down that footage. I have gone by, frame by frame, and I can’t see any moment, any moment in which he was pointing the gun at the time they shot him or the whole time of him walking down.”

Kristopher Handy, 34, was shot and killed by Anchorage Police on May 13, 2024. (Courtesy of Handy family)

At a Monday morning press conference, Police Chief Bianca Cross, who has led the state’s largest police department for less than a month, said otherwise. 

“As they advanced towards the apartment complex on foot, the adult male raised the long gun towards the officers,” Cross said. “Four officers discharged their weapons, striking the adult male once in the upper body.”

Cross released a statement Thursday saying that her comments at the press conference were based on the testimony of a witness. She said the footage from Miller “appears to many to differ from the initial statement we provided regarding the event.”

“This is an ongoing investigation, and our involved officers deserve due process,” she said.

Anchorage police spokeswoman Renee Oistad said the body camera footage was reviewed after the press conference on Monday, and it will be released to the public after an investigation.

“The decision has been made to treat [body-worn camera] footage like the release of any evidence in an ongoing investigation,” Oistad said. “Our priority is to ensure the investigation is factual and fair to everyone involved.”

She did not answer a question about what the footage showed. 

An apartment complex.
Virginia Miller’s apartment complex in Anchorage on May 16, 2024. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Police department regulations say officers aren’t able to review body camera footage of use of force until after they write their initial reports. 

The four officers who shot Handy were placed on administrative leave for four days, per department policy. The department released the names of the officers on Thursday: Jacob Jones, Jacob Ostolaza, Sgt. Noel Senoran and James Stineman. Jones and Ostolaza have worked for the department since 2016. Stineman was hired in 2022, and Senoran has been with the department since 1999.

Miller, the neighbor, said she initially didn’t want to be involved in the incident. But she said she realized she had some of the only footage of the shooting, and she decided to upload it to YouTube and Facebook. 

“I couldn’t live with myself knowing that I didn’t provide that to the family,” Miller said. “So I contacted the family and made sure that they were okay with that being released, and they wanted to get it out there.”

Miller’s security footage shows a dark view from the second floor of the apartment building. Her view is from behind Handy. He is heard in the video yelling an expletive at the officers. As he walks down a step and closer to the police, he appears to be holding a firearm. Miller said he was not pointing it at officers.

At least 12 gunshots are heard in the video, including one after Handy was already on the ground. Miller said she’s not just upset over the use of force against Handy. She said everyone in the apartment complex, including multiple children, were at risk when officers began firing without warning. 

“They put 27 lives at risk,” Miller said. “Not only Chris’s, 13 children, and killed Chris in the process, without any regard for anyone else that lives in this building. And then lied about it.”

Bullet holes.
Bullet holes near Virginia Miller’s window. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

During an interview at her apartment, Miller showed where a bullet fragment had struck her home on the second floor of the building. Handy was on the ground floor when he was shot.

“Right here is where the bullet hit, and right there is where I was watching from,” Miller said, pointing to a spot inches from where she said she watched out her window. 

In a statement, Handy’s family said he will be deeply missed as a father of four, a brother and a son.

“As a family,” it says, “we look forward to seeing the officers’ body camera footage publicly disclosed at the soonest date possible.”

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

Previous articlePaddling into Summer | Outdoor Explorer
Next articleAlaska News Nightly: Thursday, May 16, 2024