Crime & Courts

Hillside standoff suspect found dead in home

The armed 69-year-old Army veteran who had kept police at bay since about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on the Anchorage Hillside was found dead in his home, police said in a statement at 3:18 a.m. Friday.

"The standoff between law enforcement and a shooting suspect at a residence on the 12000 block of Ginami Street has ended after law enforcement confirmed that the suspect, identified as 69-year-old Robert Musser, was deceased in his home. An investigation and autopsy will determine the cause and nature of Musser's death. The medical examiner will take custody of the body," the statement said.

[Man in standoff showed recent signs of mental decline]

Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro announced shortly after 10 a.m. Friday that more information on the standoff would be released at a 2 p.m. press conference. Castro said no further details on Musser's death, including when he was found, would be available before that as investigators gathered information on the sequence of events.

Police did have a brief update on two officers wounded Thursday afternoon when Musser fired on them. One of them was hospitalized, and the other was initially treated at the scene.

"The condition of the officers is good," Castro wrote. "They are recovering."

Castro said earlier in an email that there was no further gunfire at the scene of the standoff since just before 1 p.m. Thursday, when two officers were injured during an exchange of shots. Loud bangs heard around 8:30 p.m. Thursday were stun grenades, she said.


Ginami Street remained closed as an investigation into the standoff continued, police said.

No additional information about the circumstances surrounding Musser's death was immediately available from police.

Police identified the man as Robert "Bob" Musser, an Army veteran whose home on Ginami Street is just below the road that winds up to the Flattop trailhead, a popular hiking spot for residents and tourists. The home remained surrounded by officers Thursday who tried to coax Musser into talking with them, occasionally launching percussion bombs onto his property, but mostly leaving him in silence.

[Watch: Anchorage police launch stun grenades during standoff]

The loud and bright stun grenades — police call them "flashbangs" — emitted sharp pops in spurts during the rainy Thursday. Around noon, there was gunfire. Musser opened fire on officers who fired back, according to Castro. Two officers were injured by Musser's gunfire and were recovering Thursday evening, she said, but she declined to describe the officers' wounds or how they occurred.

Since Wednesday, the neighborhood had been at the center of the standoff. It started shortly after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday when two members of a Carlos Tree Service crew, clearing a utility easement for power lines in the area, told police Musser approached them with a gun and opened fire.

According to the charging document, Musser told the tree-cutting crew to get off of his property. One of the men said Musser pointed a revolver at him before moving it to the side and firing. Musser fired twice more as the men retreated, the charges say.

[More photos: Scenes from the Hillside standoff]

Charging documents filed as a result of that encounter accused Musser of two felony counts of third-degree assault and three counts of weapons misconduct. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

SWAT teams from the FBI assisted with the Ginami Street standoff, after joining APD's response to a separate standoff in Midtown Thursday. The suspect in that case, accused of assaulting his significant other, was in custody by 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.

Chris Klint

Chris Klint is a former ADN reporter who covered breaking news.