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Village police officer shot in confrontation with bootlegger recovering

Michelle Theriault Boots

A police officer shot Friday in the Northwest Arctic village of Buckland during a confrontation with a suspected bootlegger has undergone surgery and is recovering in Anchorage, the Alaska State Troopers said Sunday.

His suspected attacker is in jail facing charges including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, assault and bootlegging.

Troopers said Buckland resident Gary A. Ballot, 40, shot village police officer Lorin B. Geary after Geary approached Ballot's boat as it pulled up to a beach in Buckland, a community of about 400 people 75 miles southeast of Kotzebue.

Geary suspected Ballot was bringing alcohol into Buckland, a community that voted to ban its sale and importation, according to troopers. Geary was acting on an anonymous tip, troopers said.

Troopers said Ballot arrived with 7.5 liters of distilled spirits, 18.825 gallons of a malt beverage and 5.25 liters of wine.

People in the village came to help after hearing what had happened and took Ballot's gun away from him, troopers said.

Ballot said he was injured during his arrest but doctors at the Maniilaq Medical Center cleared him, according to troopers. His boat, a four-wheeler and a trailer were all seized with a search warrant.

He is being held at the Kotzebue Regional Jail with bail of $250,000.


By MICHELLE THERIAULT BOOTS
mtheriault@adn.com