Crime & Courts

Anchorage police respond to online video that casts doubt on department’s account of man’s shooting by officers

In an unusual move, the Anchorage Police Department on Thursday responded to a video circulating online that casts doubt on an initial police account of a fatal confrontation between officers and a 34-year-old man outside a West Anchorage apartment earlier this week.

Police initially said that Kristopher K. Handy had “raised a long gun” toward officers responding to a domestic violence call at an apartment complex before four officers fired, killing him.

The video “appears to many to differ from the initial statement we provided regarding the event,” Chief Bianca Cross wrote in the statement, which was posted to the department’s website Thursday afternoon.

The graphic, 33-second video posted on a newly created Facebook group called “Anchorage Police Accountability” shows Handy walking out of an apartment and down a set of stairs, facing away from the camera. Police then fire at least 10 shots at him, and he can be seen falling to the ground. It’s not clear from the video whether he is raising a gun or not.

The video appears to be captured by a security camera at the Bearfoot Drive apartment building where the shooting occurred.

In the statement, Cross acknowledged that initial police accounts of events are sometimes later found to be inaccurate.

“During the press conference we gave the morning of the shooting, we made a statement that was based on the initial account of a witness,” she wrote. “Part of that witness’ version was that the suspect had raised a long gun towards the officers.”


It was not clear who the witness she referred to was, or whether it was an officer.

An internal Anchorage Police Department investigation and an inquiry by the state Office of Special Prosecutions will continue, Cross said. “Sometimes what we learn matches what we initially believed to be true and sometimes the facts that develop take the investigation in an entirely new direction,” the statement said.

Cross wrote that video, like the one circulating online, “does not capture many details to include what happened before the video was activated, what happened after the video was terminated, and what happened outside the view of the camera,” the statement said. “It also does not capture the human element of those involved to include their perception, what they see, what they hear, and what they know.”

Other video capturing the shooting exists: The incident marked the first time an officer in Anchorage has fatally shot someone while wearing a body camera.

That bodycam footage has not been released to the public, and likely won’t be for some time.

Cross said during a Monday media briefing that the department would release the footage after the investigation was complete. She did not provide a timeline.

Under the department’s policy, the chief may release footage of officer-involved shootings prior to the completion of investigations.

Cross did not answer questions on Monday about whether Handy’s gun was loaded, if he threatened the woman with the weapon or how they knew each other, citing the ongoing investigation.

The man killed during the encounter was 34-year-old Kristopher K. Handy. Police said Handy “raised a long gun towards the officers.” No officers were injured, they said.

Police said Thursday that the incident was reported at 2:01 a.m., dispatchers were alerted that Handy had a weapon at 2:19, officers arrived at 2:21 and the shooting occurred at 2:38.

Earlier Thursday, police said the officers who discharged their weapons were James Stineman, hired in June 2022; Jacob Jones, hired in December 2016; Jacob Ostolaza, hired in June 2016; and Sgt. Noel Senoran, hired in November 1999.

Police have said they were initially called to the apartment on the 7100 block of Bearfoot Drive around 2:15 a.m. for a disturbance in one of the units between Handy and a woman. The area is south of Raspberry Road, just west of Minnesota Drive.

As officers headed to the area, dispatchers were told that Handy “had gone outside the apartment complex with a long gun,” police said.

The officers approached the apartment in two teams, according to police. Handy “raised a long gun towards the officers” and four fired their guns at him, police said.

Officers rendered first aid, and medics from the Anchorage Fire Department responded and ultimately declared Handy dead at the scene, police said.

The officers who fired their weapons were placed on four days of administrative leave, per police policy. The Office of Special Prosecutions will review the use of force to determine if it was justified. APD’s Internal Affairs unit will review their actions afterward to determine if the officers violated policy, police said.

A spokeswoman for the department did not answer additional questions about the shooting Thursday, citing the “ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by OSP.”


Anchorage voters approved a $1.8 million tax increase in 2021 that paid for body cameras and an update to other critical department technology. Officials at the time said they aimed to equip officers by the end of that year. It took more than two years for Anchorage officers to begin wearing cameras. The police force was fully outfitted by March.

Cross has not yet been confirmed as chief. Mayor Dave Bronson announced last month that she would take over the role as Michael Kerle retired.

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