A man was shot by police officers in an East Anchorage park Monday after pointing a BB gun that looked like a real firearm at the officers, police said
Just before 10:30 a.m. Monday, an officer patrolling near Second Avenue and Lane Street saw the man pointing what looked like a handgun at nearby homes and people in Dave Rose Park, said Police Chief Justin Doll. The park is just south of the Glenn Highway and north of Russian Jack Springs Park.
Officers spent nearly three minutes trying to persuade the man to stop, but commands to drop the weapon were ignored, said police.
The man then “manipulated the firearm” and “pointed it at officers,” said Doll, and three police officers fired their weapons.
Police then gave first aid to the man, who was then transported to the hospital by paramedics, Doll said, and the man is expected to survive. Police did not disclose details about his injuries.
The officers have been placed on administrative leave and their names will be released after 72 hours, according to department policy.
Police said the weapon was Crossman replica 1911 BB gun. The BB gun resembles a 1911-styled firearm, a popular and visually distinct pistol.
This is the second time this year police have fired on a man brandishing a BB gun. In April, police shot and killed a man near 16th Avenue and A Street who police say pulled what looked like a black pistol from his waistband while walking toward officers. It was later determined to be a BB gun.
Wade Adams, 53, lives beside the park and was just feet from where the shooting happened. He said he was cleaning his home with the door open when he first heard yelling, and then gunfire. “Maybe seven to nine shots,” he said.
Police immediately handcuffed and began bandaging the man, Wade said. By the time paramedics arrived, Wade said he saw the man sitting up.
Wade said he’s an Army veteran and familiar with firearms. The BB gun “looked exactly like a gun,” Wade said.
Eric Foley, 29, who lives across the street from the park said “It sounded like multiple vehicle backfires.” Foley was home Monday morning and didn’t believe it was actually a shooting until he saw the police alert on his phone.
Criminal and internal investigations are underway, said police chief Doll. The results of the criminal investigation will be given to the Office of Special Prosecution for review and an Internal Affairs investigation will also be conducted, police said.
“Do not point anything that looks like a weapon at law enforcement officers,” Doll said. “I cannot stress that enough.”
Doll said that officers have a wide variety of tools to address conflict in the field, but most of those tools are “taken off the table” when they are presented with what looks like a lethal threat.
Other people were in the park at the time of the shooting, police said.