Crime & Courts

Driver shot by Juneau police officer expected to survive

A man was shot and injured by Juneau police early Saturday after he barricaded himself in a vehicle, police said.

Many details remained unclear Saturday. The 38-year-old Juneau man, whose name was not released by police, was reported to be in serious condition in a Seattle hospital and is expected to survive, police said.

Juneau's police chief said it was determined the man was not armed when he was shot.

"Earlier this morning, a very tragic situation unfolded where a (Juneau Police Department) officer felt like he had no other option but to shoot a man," Juneau Police Chief Bryce Johnson said in a news conference Saturday afternoon.

Just before 1 a.m. Saturday, an officer tried to stop a gray Jeep Cherokee near Egan Drive and Mendenhall Loop Road, a police statement said. The vehicle failed to stop, and officers, following Juneau police protocol, didn't pursue it, Johnson said.

A few hours later, around 3:55 a.m., a woman called police dispatchers and said her husband was the passenger in an accident, and that he wouldn't tell her who was driving, police said. Two officers found the vehicle in a ditch in the 16500 block of Oceanview Drive, police said. It was same vehicle that had fled from police earlier, police said.

"The driver did not comply with officer instructions, and the on-duty sergeant (told dispatchers) that the driver was barricaded in the vehicle," the police statement said.

"Within one minute, officers requested medical assistance for the driver who had been shot one time by one of the officers," the police statement said.

The man who was shot was known to police, and was the subject of an "officer safety warning" due to threats he had made in the past about harming officers, Johnson said.

Police determined the man was not armed during the incident. "We are unaware of any weapons at the scene," Johnson said.

The man was taken to the Juneau hospital, then flown to Seattle, where he was in serious but stable condition, Johnson said.

Two officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, and their names won't be released until at least Monday, Johnson said. No charges had been filed against the man, so until that happens, his name would be withheld, Johnson said.

The man was shot once, and Johnson said he didn't know how many shots had been fired in total. "There were not a whole bunch … it was a small number," Johnson said.

Juneau officers do not wear body cameras, Johnson said. Dash cams and audio recorders worn by the officers would be used in the investigation to determine what happened.

"We have our entire detective division working on it along with some of our patrol officers," Johnson said. The local District Attorney and Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Investigations had also been contacted for help with the case.

The Alaska Department of Law's Office of Special Prosecutions will also conduct an investigation.

It's the first time since 2007 that an officer-involved shooting has occurred in Juneau, Johnson said. In that incident, police shot and killed 40-year-old Randall Clevenger as Clevenger advanced on police with a samurai sword, the Juneau Empire reported at the time.

"It's very traumatic for the entire community," Johnson said of officer involved shootings.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.