Crime & Courts

Troopers identify officers who shot at driver killed in gunfight near Healy

Alaska State Troopers on Saturday identified the four law enforcement officers who fired their weapons during an exchange of gunfire Wednesday on the Parks Highway that killed 45-year-old Michael Grimes.

Troopers said they had initiated a traffic stop because Grimes was involved in an open felony investigation, but Grimes didn’t stop, prompting a pursuit on the highway north of Healy during which Grimes shot multiple times at law enforcement.

The four officers who fired their weapons at Grimes were Trooper Sgt. Aaron Mobley, Trooper Scott McAfee, Trooper Trevor Norris and John Swope, a North Slope Borough Police Department task force officer, troopers said in an online statement.

Mobley, McAfee and Norris are assigned to the Fairbanks Criminal Suppression Unit, and Swope is assigned to the Fairbanks Area Narcotics Team at the moment, according to troopers.

The four men were placed on administrative leave for 72 hours after the shooting per department policy, troopers said.

Troopers so far haven’t shared additional details about the investigation that spurred their initial interaction with Grimes.

“The felony-level investigation is still active and ongoing, so I am unable to provide additional information so that I do not interfere with the investigation,” troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said in an email Saturday.


Troopers have said that Grimes shot at officers during their pursuit and law enforcement fired back at Grimes, striking him, “due to the extreme public safety risk that the driver posed to the public.” According to troopers, the exchange of gunfire resumed after Grimes’ pickup came to a stop. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and no other injuries were reported, according to troopers.

A passenger in Grimes’ pickup, 42-year-old North Pole resident Melody Perry, was arrested on a felony charge of misconduct involving a weapon, troopers said.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is continuing to investigate the incident, troopers said, and the state Office of Special Prosecutions will conduct an independent review of that investigation once it’s over.