Crime & Courts

Anchorage police say man killed by officers was 31-year-old carrying look-alike gun

Update 6 a.m. Friday:

The Anchorage Police Department late Thursday released the names of the officers who fired their weapons at Bishar Hassan: Officer Nathan Lewis (with APD since December 2016); Officer Matthew Hall (with APD since November 2013); and Officer Brett Eggiman (with APD since June 2018).

Original story:

Anchorage police have identified the man shot and killed by officers Monday night as Bishar Hassan, 31.

Police say they first received calls about Hassan walking near the Midtown Walmart “waving around” what looked like a black handgun.

The man then got on a People Mover bus heading northbound on A Street, according to police. At 5:51 p.m. the man was seen getting off the bus at 16th Avenue and A Street.

“He was walking ... on the east side of A Street when several officers pulled up,” police said. “The officers gave orders for the suspect to stop walking. The male ignored the commands, and while continuing to advance towards the officers, pulled a gun from his waistband.”


All three fired on the man, each shooting “multiple times.” Witnesses said they heard more than a dozen shots fired. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital just before 8 p.m., according to police.

The gun turned out to be a Daisy Powerline 340 BB Repeater Pistol, police have said.

“It looks very much like a real pistol,” said Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll at a hastily arranged news conference Monday night.

Little was immediately known about Hassan and his life in Alaska beyond public records.

He had one other criminal charge in Alaska, stemming from a February 2018 incident in the fish processing hub of Dutch Harbor in which he was accused of trying to hug and kiss a woman in a phone booth at a cannery.

Hassan was charged with harassment in that case. He filed for PFDs in Alaska as far back as 2014, according to court records.

The incident was not the first time Anchorage police have killed a person holding a look-alike weapon.

In 2012, Anchorage police shot 59-year-old Harry Smith to death in the backyard of his home after he brandished a BB gun that looked like Smith & Wesson revolver.

At the time, the man’s son said he had warned police his father might have a look-alike gun.

Police said they are still investigating the shooting. The officers involved have been put on a mandatory 72-hour leave.

The Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals will investigate whether the shooting will be considered justified.

[Related: Man killed by officers aimed BB gun at them, police say]

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.