Crime & Courts

Tribal police officer in Southwest Alaska shoots and kills man who officers say fired at them

A tribal police officer in a Southwest Alaska village shot and killed a man who officers say had fired a rifle at them early Saturday morning, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers were notified just after midnight Saturday morning that tribal police in the village of Chefornak “had been shot at” by Christopher Wasili, 39, according to troopers’ online report.

The police were responding to a disturbance that Wasili was involved in, troopers spokesman Justin Freeman said in an email Saturday.

According to Freeman, the arriving officers “attempted to deescalate the situation.”

“Wasili then went inside his house. He returned to his arctic entry, armed with a rifle. He then fired at the (tribal police officers),” Freeman said.

When Wasili pointed his rifle at them again, one of the officers returned fire, shooting Wasili with a personally owned handgun, according to Freeman and the trooper report.

The officers “immediately began rendering aid,” Freeman said. Wasili was brought to a Chefornak clinic where he received immediate medical attention, according to troopers. He was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m., and his next of kin was notified of his death, troopers said.


No one else was hurt in the incident, said troopers, who didn’t identify the tribal police officers involved.

When asked why the officer who shot Wasili was using a personally owned gun, Freeman said that the officer “legally possessed the firearm” and directed questions about tribal police policy to the Chefornak Tribal Council. Efforts to reach Chefornak tribal leaders Saturday weren’t immediately successful.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigations has launched an investigation that will be independently reviewed by the Alaska Department of Law, Freeman said.

No arrests have been made or charges filed, Freeman said.