Crime & Courts

Man pulled gun ‘off his person’ before officers shot him, police say

Anchorage’s police chief on Wednesday identified the 21-year-old man who police shot and killed during a confrontation in a Fairview parking lot Monday night.

The shooting marked the third time Anchorage police have shot someone in the past three weeks. The shootings, which left two men dead and a third hospitalized, mark the first in the city to be captured by officers’ body cameras.

Around 9:30 p.m., officers responded to multiple calls, one of which described a man, later identified as Tyler May, firing into the air and waving a handgun around, said Bianca Cross, the police chief designee.

A man in a white vehicle pointed police at the scene toward two men and officers contacted them in the parking lot of 1300 East 19th Ave. and gave them orders, she said. One of the men complied and was detained, while May “continued to walk away from officers,” Cross said.

A police K-9 was deployed and bit May, taking him to the ground, she said. As the dog was biting him, officers “continued to give commands and the suspect produced a handgun,” Cross said. “Three officers fired their weapons, striking and killing the suspect.”

Cross said she did not have details about if or where May was pointing the handgun, but that “he pulled it off of his person.”

Cross said she had reviewed portions of the body camera footage and reviewed witness statements before making Wednesday’s public statement. She did not have details about how long officers were on the scene for before they fired at May.


The other man detained by police was legally carrying a handgun and investigators determined he had not committed a crime, Cross said.

Just two days earlier, police said officers shot 22-year-old Kaleb Bourdukofsky as he fled after opening fire into a crowd downtown early Saturday, killing 25-year-old Diego Joe and injuring another. Bourdukofsky is facing numerous charges, including first- and second-degree murder.

He remained hospitalized and underwent another surgery on Wednesday, a prosecutor said during a court hearing that afternoon.

The department on Tuesday identified Jordan Varak and Parker Boydston as the officers who shot at him. Both have been employed by the department since 2021.

In mid-May, officers fatally shot and killed 34-year-old Kristopher Handy outside a West Anchorage apartment building after they said he raised a gun at them. Widely shared surveillance footage from a nearby apartment has raised questions about whether Handy was raising a weapon when he was shot.

[Demonstrators call for Anchorage Police to release body camera video of shooting]

Cross, who still needs to be confirmed as chief by a majority of the Anchorage Assembly, addressed body camera concerns during an Assembly Public Safety Committee meeting Wednesday. She said it’s unusual for police shootings to happen in such a short timeframe, but that none of the incidents are related. Cross told reporters in the afternoon afternoon that the shootings were not an indication of an increase in crime.

Six people have been shot and killed by Anchorage police since 2020, according to a department spokeswoman.

Cross has declined to release body camera footage in all three recent shootings until after a state review is finished, despite department policy granting her authority to do so. She has cited a longstanding position taken by the state’s Office of Special Prosecutions as a factor in her decision.

There is no timeline for how long investigations into police shootings last. A fatal shooting involving Alaska State Troopers from November is still under review.

During Wednesday’s meeting, several Assembly members questioned Cross about body camera footage and her decision not to release footage from the three shootings.

Committee chair Kameron Perez-Verdia said the Assembly is trying to balance the ongoing investigations and police policy with the public’s need for communication, “because that’s the idea -- that’s why we brought the body cameras in, to increase trust, to allow the community to feel like they can really understand what was happening within these cases.”

Cross said she could not determine if there would be a circumstance in the future that would prompt her to release body camera footage prior to the completion of the investigation. She supports the policy as it stands, she said.

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Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at