Reports of armed gunmen in Switzer Village Mobile Park spread quickly on social media Thursday afternoon. The alleged gunmen were actually detectives with the Juneau Police Department.
“There wasn’t anything nefarious going on, and nobody was at risk,” JPD spokesperson Lt. David Campbell told the Empire Thursday afternoon.
The two detectives — described as “heavily armed gunmen” on Juneau Facebook groups, which KINY radio then reported on without confirming with police — were looking for a car that was reported stolen earlier Thursday morning. Both detectives were wearing bullet-proof vests and at least one was carrying a rifle.
One reason for the confusion, Campbell said, is that JPD detectives don’t wear the blue JPD uniforms people are accustomed to seeing. One of the detectives was also wearing a bulkier vest than usual, which may have further thrown people off.
“When a detective responds to a case in the field, they put on a bullet-proof vest, and in this case the detective is a member of SWAT, so his vest is one of the bigger, more-tactical vests,” Campbell said.
The Juneau Police Department posted an update on its Facebook page to quell any fear caused by earlier reports on social media.
“It kinda started in the social media world, so we’re addressing it in the social media world,” Campbell said.
The detectives didn’t find the car, a blue Subaru. Police determined that the car had been stolen while responding to a domestic violence report at the 1800 block of Northwood Drive at about 10 a.m. That investigation is ongoing.