The chance of a full recovery "looks very good" for the Anchorage police officer who was shot as many as five times early Saturday morning, a police spokesman said today as detectives worked in shifts to find the attackers.
As of this afternoon, no arrests had been made in what police are calling the ambush shooting of 47-year-old Officer Jason Allen in Fairview.
A dark-colored sedan pulled up alongside Allen's patrol car just before 2 a.m. on Medfra Street, between 14th and 15th avenues, and opened fire with what appeared to be a handgun, police say.
Allen's bulletproof vest stopped at least some of the shots, said Lt. Dave Parker, a spokesman. "The family has been visiting and he's made good progress medically."
Police are putting extra effort into finding the attacker or attackers given the brazen nature of the shooting, Parker said. "He's bold enough to shoot a police officer, who he knows is armed, in ambush. Who knows what they're capable of?"
Today investigators are following leads -- "And leads are coming in," Parker said -- and looking for more tips from the public.
Allen was about three hours into his shift at the time of the shooting, Parker said. The officer had spent roughly 45 minutes at a nearby home on an unrelated call, according to a neighbor. Police don't believe the shooting was connected to anything that happened earlier in the shift, Parker said.
The surprise attack on Allen follows a string of police officers killed in western Washington since Oct. 31.
Five Anchorage Police Department employees recently attended a funeral for four slain officers and were briefed on how the Washington cases were solved, Parker said.
At a Saturday news conference, Lt. Dave Koch said video evidence played a role in solving one of the Washington cases, noting police are also reviewing video related to the Fairview shooting. Police have declined to say where the footage comes from.
Koch said Allen appeared to be targeted because he was a police officer. After the shooting, Medfra Street residents wondered if the attack was somehow gang related.
"That will be something that will certainly be part of the investigation, but we don't know yet," Parker said.
Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call 786-8900 or 561-7867.
Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By KYLE HOPKINS