Crime & Courts

Anchorage police officer shot during struggle with suspect, police say

Update, 10 a.m. Tuesday: Officer Ryan Nigh’s gun discharged and struck another officer on Friday, Anchorage police said in an updated statement. Nigh has been with the department three years.

The injured officer continues to recover and had been moved out of the hospital’s intensive care unit by Tuesday, Chief Ken McCoy said in the statement.

Original story:

An Anchorage police officer was shot and hospitalized after another officer’s gun fired during a struggle between police and a man they were trying to arrest, police said early Saturday.

The officer, who was not immediately identified, was in surgery early Saturday, police said.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the shooting occurred or who fired the gun, police said.

A 29-year-old man was arrested and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. He was hurt during the struggle with police and not shot, a police spokesman said.

The incident happened in an East Anchorage neighborhood just before midnight, police said. Police got a call around 10:15 p.m. of shots fired in the 4100 block of Lena Court, just north of Tudor Road and west of Boniface Parkway.

“The preliminary investigation found that there was a verbal altercation inside a residence involving several people,” police wrote. “Witnesses reported an intoxicated armed adult male left the residence and fired several shots in the area.”

Police searched the area for about 40 minutes and couldn’t find the suspect, Police Chief Ken McCoy said in an early morning news conference. Officers left but later, around 11:40 p.m., police got a call that the suspect had returned to the area and officers came back, McCoy said.

“Three officers approached the suspect and attempted to take him into custody,” police wrote. “During this time, a struggle ensued, and an officer’s firearm was discharged striking another officer in the lower body,” police wrote.

McCoy said police were investigating what happened.

“At this stage of the investigation, it is unclear how or who caused that firearm to discharge,” McCoy said. He said the officer suffered a serious injury to his lower body.

Police said they arrested Justin Constantine, 29. He was charged with several courts of weapons misconduct as well as violating the terms of release, police said.

A police spokesman, M.J. Thim, said Constantine was hurt during the scuffle. He was not shot, Thim said.

The state Office of Special Prosecutions will review the shooting, followed by a police internal-affairs inquiry,. McCoy said.

This is a developing story and will be updated.