Anchorage policeman stabbed during fight with suspect

Police say man pulled weapon during search and a fight erupted.

Anchorage Daily NewsJune 18, 2012 

A police officer was stabbed in the leg by a suspect who pulled out a knife during a weapons search early Monday morning, the Anchorage Police Department said.

APD officers responded to a report of a disturbance with a possible weapon involved at an apartment complex in the 1400 block of West 25th Avenue in Spenard at about 2 a.m. on Monday.

When they arrived at the parking lot of the complex, 47-year-old Edward Thompson told police he was there with a woman who said she didn't know who he was, according to Anchorage Police Department spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.

Thompson quickly pulled a folding knife out of his pocket when officers began a weapons pat-down, Parker said. He did not know how big the knife was.

A fight started "instantaneously," Parker said,

In the ensuing struggle Thompson allegedly stabbed Officer Keo Fujimoto in the leg and wounded him on the forehead.

Thompson sliced another officer's protective bulletproof vest near the neck, Parker said.

When a third officer arrived on the scene the second officer, Nathan Keays, struck Thompson's hand with the baton, causing him to let go of the knife, Parker said.

The blow broke bones in Thompson's hands, Parker said.

"That was the only time they were able to subdue the guy long enough to deploy a weapon," Parker said.

The stabbing comes a week after APD officer Boaz Gionson shot and killed a 26-year-old Mountain View man, Shane Tasi, who police said approached Gionson aggressively with a stick.

Some of Tasi's friends and other community members have questioned whether deadly force was justified in that shooting.

That incident, like all officer involved shootings, is being investigated as a homicide and will result in an internal affairs inquiry as per department policy, police have said.

Officers are called on to make split-second, life-and-death decisions, Parker said.

Deadly force wasn't used in this case in part because the men were grappling closely in a "ground fight" that unfolded within seconds, Parker said, too fast for officers to get to their guns. There's no question that deadly force would have been justified, he said. "They weren't in a position to use it."

Fujimoto received stitches for the stab wound on his leg at a local hospital and Thompson was treated for the broken bones in his hand. Both have been released from the hospital.

The incident was the first time an Anchorage Police Department officer has been injured with a weapon this year, Parker said.

Thompson is being charged with felony assault, attempted assault, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

He is scheduled in court on Tuesday .

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com.