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Bethel police say man pointed gun before officer killed him

Casey Grove

A Bethel man that a police officer fatally shot Tuesday night allegedly pointed a gun at the officer at a home near the Southwest Alaska city's harbor, according to the Bethel Police Department.

The officer, who has not been named, shot Sam Alexi Jr., 24, once, killing him, after responding to a 911 call at a house at 188 East Ave., said Bethel Police Chief Larry Elarton in a written statement Thursday.

Alaska State Troopers and the state Bureau of Investigation are looking into the shooting.

It started when someone called to report a disturbance at the home about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, Chief Elarton said in the statement. People at the house said Alexi had a rifle, and officers removed two people from the home before Alexi confronted them, Elarton said. The officers were helping the two get out when Alexi approached them on the front steps, brandishing the rifle, according to the police chief.

"Officers yelled at Alexi to drop the weapon. Instead Alexi pointed the weapon at the officers," Elarton wrote. "An officer fired one round at Alexi, who was pronounced deceased at the scene."

None of the police officers was injured during the shooting, but one officer slipped on the wet, poorly constructed front steps and hit the back of his head on the steps, Elarton said. At first, the officer said he was OK, but he was later found unconscious in his patrol car, the chief said. An ambulance took the hurt officer to a hospital with a severe concussion, and he was apparently expected to recover.

According to state law, investigators must present their findings to an assistant district attorney with the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, who will determine if the shooting was justified. Troopers say that investigation is ongoing.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.


By CASEY GROVE
Anchorage Daily News