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Crime & Courts

Family of man killed by police and troopers in Fairbanks prepares lawsuit

  • Author: Associated Press
  • Updated: September 10, 2018
  • Published September 10, 2018

JUNEAU – The family of a 20-year-old Fairbanks man who was killed by police is preparing a wrongful death lawsuit against Alaska authorities, their attorney said.

Cody Eyre, a former Juneau resident, was fired upon by three Alaska State Troopers and two Fairbanks police officers on Christmas Eve last year, the Juneau Empire reported Sunday.

Eyre "brandished his firearm toward law enforcement officers," resulting in police opening fire, troopers said. Authorities have not released body camera footage, police reports or investigative findings.

Eyre was shot 12 times, dying from the wound to the back of his head, according to an independent autopsy report conducted on behalf of the family.

Mark Choate, the family's attorney, said he is planning to file the lawsuit within the next 30 days, claiming troopers and Fairbanks police violated Eyre's civil rights.

Choate said he expected the police department and state Office of Special Prosecutions to release information in three or four months after the shooting.

"But eight months? It makes me nervous," Choate said, "because as a society, what we want is for people to trust the police."

Samantha Eyre-Harrison of Juneau said her brother had been fighting with his girlfriend and decided to take a walk on the day of the shooting. He had a .22-caliber pistol, which he typically carried with him.

Eyre's mother called police after becoming worried about him and hoping they could calm him down, Eyre-Harrison said. The family later heard a flurry of gunshots.

John Skidmore, the director of the Alaska Department of Law, declined to comment on the specifics of the case, saying the investigation is still open. A number of factors can delay an investigation, and smaller agencies in the state usually have low staffing, he said. The Office of Special Prosecutions will review the department's internal investigation when it's ready, he said.

The family hopes that the state will release information about the shooting through the filing of a lawsuit, Choate said.

"That's just really unfair that one side would have access to everything and the other side would have access to nothing," Eyre-Harrison said. "It doesn't promote a very good sense of justice."

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