Alaska News

SWAT officers involved in fatal East Anchorage standoff didn’t wear body cameras

Police say Anchorage SWAT officers involved in a fatal standoff in East Anchorage last week that ended with the death of a 58-year-old woman were not wearing body cameras.

Officers assigned to the SWAT team have not been outfitted with cameras yet, meaning there may not be any video footage of what’s being investigated as an officer-involved shooting, Chief Designee Bianca Cross said during a short briefing Monday.

Sgt. Jonathan Butler discharged his weapon during a SWAT standoff early Thursday involving the woman, whom police said they were attempting to arrest on a third-degree assault charge.

Cross said Monday it was not clear whether 58-year-old Lisa Fordyce-Blair was hit by the officer’s gunfire, but police found her dead in the home when they entered. Police expect to know more about the cause of Fordyce-Blair’s death once autopsy results are available, the chief said. The State Medical Examiner’s Office completed the autopsy Monday morning, she said.

This is the fourth time since mid-May that Anchorage police have shot at someone. Two men died and another was wounded in three separate encounters.

[Related: In a moment, an emotional night turned deadly: June 3 Anchorage police shooting was 6th death since 2020]

Cross on Monday said the department has not provided SWAT officers with cameras because they don’t fit properly on the bulkier uniforms they wear. The police department finished outfitting officers with body cameras in March, more than two years behind the initial deployment schedule.


Last Wednesday afternoon, police initially responded to the 7400 block of East 20th Avenue after a neighbor reported Fordyce-Blair pointed a gun at him and his son, according to the assault charge filed against her. She refused to leave her home, and eventually the SWAT team responded, Cross said.

Police attempted to talk to Fordyce-Blair by phone and over a loudspeaker system and eventually deployed gas into her home, Cross said. Officers heard shots from inside the home and eventually Butler “discharged his weapon,” she said.

Officers searched the home and found Fordyce-Blair dead, the chief said.

Police vehicles at the scene were equipped with dashboard cameras and it’s possible some of the shooting was captured by those devices, Cross said. She had not watched any footage of the shooting or from the scene by Monday, she said.

The string of shootings involving officers since May have sparked demands for police to release the footage. Cross, who is allowed by police policy to release such video, has repeatedly said she will not until after the Office of Special Prosecutions has completed investigations into the incidents.

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Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at