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Man threatening 'suicide by cop' arrested after fleeing police

Casey Grove

A man sought by Anchorage police Thursday morning for failing to appear at a court hearing on a theft charge, then threatening to provoke officers to shoot him, was arrested by afternoon.

Scott Hartvig McDowell faces additional charges of felony assault, robbery and terroristic threatening after police officers chased and caught him in East Anchorage, a police spokesman said.

McDowell did not show up in court Aug. 9 on charges of theft and trespassing that were filed against him in June, the basis for the arrest warrant announced Thursday, said police Lt. Dave Parker.

Court records show the 45-year-old was charged with assault and had a domestic violence restraining order filed against him in March. McDowell was arrested for shoplifting in May, his wife filed for divorce in June, and McDowell was arrested for felony theft later in June.

McDowell allegedly escaped from a correctional institution in July. Then he didn't appear in court for the August pre-indictment hearing in the theft case, police said. He later told someone that if police tried to arrest him, he planned to respond with violence so police officers would kill him, said Parker, the police spokesman.

Law enforcement officials believed McDowell, a Wasilla resident, was in Anchorage.

"He has made threats, and mainly 'suicide by cop'-type threats and the possibility of robbing banks threats to (provoke) that," Parker said early Thursday. "He made those threats over the phone, and they were specific enough that they caused great concern."

Special Assignments Unit officers caught up with McDowell about 5 p.m. after he allegedly tried to steal a bottle of liquor from the Oaken Keg at the Northway Mall in Northeast Anchorage, Parker said.

"They gave us a call that the suspect was leaving in a red Subaru. Then we got a call the a red Subaru was driving erratically," Parker said. "They put two and two together and figured out who this guy was."

McDowell stopped the car in the area of Pine Street and DeBarr Road and ran from police, Parker said. They caught him within a half-hour, the police spokesman said.

Witnesses who saw McDowell get out of the car said he had a knife, but he did not use it to threaten officers, Parker said.

Police later connected McDowell to an earlier theft at a Holiday gas station. He was charged with a misdemeanor in that incident, and felony assault and robbery in the liquor store theft, because he allegedly assaulted two people, Parker said.

McDowell is also facing charges of terroristic threats and domestic violence assault against family members, Parker said.

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


By CASEY GROVE
Anchorage Daily News