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Troopers: Ambler man shot at VPO through door

Michelle Theriault Boots

An Ambler man is charged with attempted murder for responding to a village police officer's door knock with a barrage of gunshots, the Alaska State Troopers said Sunday.

No one was injured.

The man, Harry Morena, 34, had been on the VHF radio "belligerent and intoxicated" on Saturday, troopers said in an online dispatch.

Village police officer Jeffery Melton knocked on Morena's door to check up on him.

He heard the man yell "one shot, one kill," according to troopers.

"Morena then shot through the door with a 30-30 level action rifle," aiming at where Melton was standing, the dispatch said.

After Morena allegedly shot at least two more times through the door and walls of the home, a man described as a "lifelong friend" of Morena's tried to intervene through the VHF radio.

"He asked him...if he could talk with him but wanted assurances that Morena would not shoot him," the dispatch said.

The friend "ended up coming over and the guy being violent was distracted," said AST spokeswoman Megan Peters.

With Morena distracted, village officer Melton was able to take him into custody, Peters said.

When troopers arrived from Kotzebue at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday they found "evidence of manufacturing homebrew alcohol" in Morena's home.

Morena was taken to the Kotzebue jail. He now faces charges including second-degree attempted murder, third-degree assault and manufacturing alcohol.

Court records show that Morena appears to have pleaded guilty in two recent misdemeanor assault cases, one in February 2014 and another in 2012.

His elderly, deaf and blind mother was in the house during the gunfire.

She was "unaware of the situation that unfolded around her," troopers said.

The incident happened a little more than a week after two Alaska State Troopers were killed in the interior village of Tanana on May 1.

The troopers has been in the village following a report that a resident had threatened a village public safety officer with a gun the night before.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly state that a trooper took Harry Morena into custody. Village officer Jeffery Melton took Morena into custody.

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

 


By MICHELLE THERIAULT BOOTS
mtheriault@adn.com

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