Spenard standoff ends peacefully after woman points fake handgun at police

Michelle Theriault Boots

An early morning standoff in Spenard between police and a drunken woman who threatened officers and brandished an air gun that resembled a handgun ended peacefully early Sunday morning when the suspect was arrested.

Amy Paniptchuk, 32, has been charged with assault.

The standoff started when police received a 911 call from a duplex on the 2900 block of Doris Street at about 3:25 a.m., according to an Anchorage Police Department release. The caller said a woman was coming to "beat them up," according to police.

Police say when officers arrived Paniptchuk was intoxicated and claimed to have a pistol. She  threatened to shoot herself and officers, police said.  After a police negotiator failed to get Paniptchuk to leave the duplex police evacuated neighbors to the north and south of the apartment, according to police spokeswoman Dani Myren. It was not immediately known how many people were evacuated or for how long.

Police say earlier in the night Paniptchuk threatened her girlfriend with a knife and assaulted her girlfriend's aunt. The victims, along with two young children living in the duplex, were able to escape the apartment before the standoff began.

At around 4:30 a.m. a SWAT team was called in, according to police.

Over the next several hours Paniptchuk told police she'd "rather be in the morgue" and that she had a shotgun and was "locked, loaded and ready to come out," Myren said in a release. She also made comments about "someone shooting her if she has to make them," according to police.

At 8:30 a.m. a police SWAT team sent non-lethal gas into the basement of the duplex to force Paniptchuk out, Myren said.

Paniptchuk left the building but "immediately pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the officers, compelling officers to take cover," according to police.

"Paniptchuk then went to the ground; responding officers were able to approach the uncooperative subject and take her into custody," police said.

They then found that Paniptchuk had actually been pointing an air soft gun that looked like a handgun, Myren said.

Paniptchuk was taken to the Anchorage Jail and has been charged with several courts of felony assault as well as one misdemeanor assault charge.

Last July Anchorage police shot and killed a 59-year-old man who pointed a BB gun nearly identical to a Smith and Wesson handgun at them in the backyard of his Jewel Lake-area home during a standoff.

A review of that shooting by the state Department of Law ruled that it was justified.


This is a developing story. Check back for details.


Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.