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Crime & Courts

‘This is what evil looks like’: Fairbanks police show body armor, ammo of man killed in June shooting

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: November 3, 2017
  • Published November 3, 2017

Fairbanks Police Department Chief Eric Jewkes stands next to the body armor worn by Matthew Stover, the 21-year-old who was shot and killed by police in June 2017. On the table is the fire arms and ammunition Stover had with him when he was killed. (Fairbanks Police Video screengrab)

The 21-year-old Fairbanks man who was shot and killed by police in June was "prepared to just obliterate this community," Fairbanks Police Chief Eric Jewkes told the public during a press conference Thursday.

At the conference, which was broadcast on Facebook Live, Jewkes outlined the extent to which Matthew Colton Stover had made preparations to create a path "of destruction through this entire town."

Jewkes outlined Stover's internet search history, showed video surveillance of the shooting, and had Stover's firearms and body armor on display for the public to see.

Stover was shot and killed by police in the early hours of June 19. Police had received a call from an employee at a Denny's restaurant about a suspect with a gun. Surveillance at the Fairbanks Correctional Complex then picked up Stover's vehicle as he parked in a snow dump lot nearby.

Jewkes described how three police officers took positions in nearby trees. A police car then approached Stover's vehicle.

Two videos shown by police show that as soon as police announced their presence, Stover got out of his vehicle and ran toward the police vehicle with his gun out. Stover fired shots and police returned fire.

Jewkes said police didn't know exactly what Stover's plan was, but that it was already underway the day he was fatally shot.

Jewkes said it was "particularly disturbing to us, and should be disturbing to the entire city of Fairbanks."

Stover's internet search history included violent bank robberies, how to make hand grenades, the types of ammunition used by SWAT teams, and police radio scanners.

At the press conference, police unveiled a black curtain to reveal a mannequin wearing the body armor that Stover was wearing when he was killed. Next to the armor was a table with the firearm and ammunition that police said Stover had with him.

"This is what evil looks like," Jewkes said.

Stover had custom-made bulletproof gear to cover his legs, soft body armor underneath steel plates, and steel plates wrapped around his side and back. He had duct-taped soft body armor to his arms and neck, Jewkes said. His face mask was also designed to stop bullets, Jewkes said.

Stover was armed with an "AR-style rifle," and had four fully loaded 30-round magazines in a tactical vest, Jewkes said. On his belt, he had a fully loaded Glock 9mm handgun, with two fully loaded 15-round magazines. He also had a large knife. On the seat of his truck were seven more fully loaded AR magazines and a box of 9mm handgun ammo — in total, 400 rounds "ready to go," Jewkes said.

"I don't think there's much that can be said beyond that," Jewkes said as the press conference came to an end.

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