After an emergency call to the Juneau Police Department Sunday morning about a physical confrontation by the Mendenhall Valley gas station led to a Juneau police officer shooting a man twice, the Alaska State Troopers and Special Prosecutor’s Office will be opening an investigation into the incident.
The suspect was a 29-year-old man who was known to the officers responding to the call, said JPD Chief Ed Mercer, but his name or the names of anyone else involved have not been released yet.
JPD held a press conference with Mercer, City Manager Rorie Watt, District Attorney Angie Kemp and Mayor Beth Weldon Sunday afternoon to address the shooting.
A 9 a.m. call to JPD alerted the department of a possible domestic violence incident between a man and a woman in the parking lot of Safeway, and officers were dispatched to the scene, Mercer said. A second call was received shortly after from a woman who said she had been choked and the man wouldn’t let her leave the vehicle. An ambulance was staged to deal with possible strangulation trauma.
Officers on the scene attempted to communicate with the man, who was in the vehicle by this time, said Mercer.
“The officers attempted to subdue him with a Taser but this failed,” said Mercer. “The male resisted and armed himself with a knife.”
The man was shot twice in the torso in the ensuing confrontation, Mercer said.
“It was a very close quarter situation,” Mercer said.
The man was then taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital, before being medevaced to Seattle, said Mercer. There was no update on the woman’s condition, Mercer said.
“The officer-involved shooting component will be handled by Special Prosecutor’s Office in Anchorage, working with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation,” Kemp said. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is part of the Alaska State Troopers. Investigations will cover both the alleged domestic violence and the officer-involved shooting.
“It’s a tragedy that anyone had to use their weapons,” said Watt in a brief statement. Watt said that troopers have a burden to carry by being armed, and sometimes they have to exercise that power.
Mercer said he wasn’t sure how long the investigation would take, and that each of these kinds of investigations proceeded at their own pace, on a case-by-case basis.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.