Crime & Courts

Anchorage police release name of officer whose gun discharged, wounding another officer, during scuffle with suspect

Anchorage police have released the name of the officer whose gun discharged and wounded another officer Friday night during a scuffle with a man they were attempting to arrest.

Police have not said whether officer Ryan Nigh pulled the trigger and caused the gun to discharge. Police department spokesman MJ Thim said that is part of an ongoing investigation.

Nigh, who has been with the department for three years, was placed on leave for four days after the shooting.

Police have not identified the officer who was seriously wounded. He underwent surgery and had been moved out of the intensive care unit by Tuesday, Chief Ken McCoy said in a statement.

Police were first called to a home on the 4100 block of Lana Court in East Anchorage just after 10 p.m. Friday because gunshots were heard, according to a sworn affidavit signed by Detective Troy Clark.

Justin Constantine, 29, had threatened a woman who asked him to leave her house and had fired shots outside, the affidavit said. Police found six shell casings outside the home, according to the affidavit.

Officers searched for Constantine but left the area after about 40 minutes when he could not be found, McCoy told reporters early Saturday. Police returned around 11:40 p.m. after Constantine again reportedly threatened the woman at her home, the affidavit said. She believed he was armed, according to the affidavit.

Three officers searched the area for Constantine and saw him. One officer ordered him to stop and another chased him when he refused, the affidavit said.

“While Constantine was running, he fell onto the pavement,” Clark wrote in the affidavit.

An officer tried to handcuff Constantine but said he was “flailing his arms,” the affidavit said. The officer said Constantine was “not necessarily trying to hurt anyone, but he kept resisting being handcuffed,” according to the affidavit.

“While Constantine was flailing, a shot was fired,” the affidavit said. “One officer received a gunshot wound during the struggle with Constantine. Constantine was not armed with a firearm during this struggle.”

Constantine was taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and has been unable to appear in court several times because of medical issues. He was not shot, Thim said.

Constantine is facing charges of misconduct involving weapons, reckless endangerment and violating a protective order and conditions of release.

The Office of Special Prosecutions will review the shooting, and the police department’s Internal Affairs division will determine whether there were policy violations.

It was the first officer-involved shooting in Anchorage during 2021. An officer was shot and wounded last year.