Crime & Courts

Fairbanks police release name of officer involved in fatal shooting, offer new details

Fairbanks police have identified the officer who fatally shot an assault and robbery suspect on Tuesday as Sgt. Gregory Foster.

Foster, an 18-year veteran of the Fairbanks Police Department, fired his weapon twice. The shots killed James Robert Richards, 28, an autopsy found. No other officers discharged their weapons.

The department says Richards threatened a woman with a gun, grabbed a hostage off the street and ignored officers' commands to drop his weapon.

[Read more: Fairbanks officer shoots and kills armed suspect, police say]

Officials shared more details of the shooting in a Friday release. Multiple officers responded to reports of an assault and shots fired at the Alaska Motel, which led to them running after Richards, police said.

The incident occurred around South Cushman Street and 15th Avenue. Officers reportedly Tasered Richards twice, but the less-than-lethal weapons were ineffective, police said Friday.

The police department also reported that Richards tried to cross South Cushman Street, "abruptly" changed direction and then approached an elderly man at a bus stop near 15th Avenue.

"Richards grabbed the elderly man by his arm, shielding himself from officers. Richards held onto the elderly hostage's arm and continued north while ignoring officers' repeated commands to drop the gun," the release says. Then, Foster fired his weapon.

The elderly man was not injured, police said.

Police are investigating the shooting and urge anyone with information to call. At the end of the investigation, the case will be turned over to the Alaska Department of Law to determine if the use of force was justified.

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