Crime & Courts

Alaska state trooper fatally shoots man reportedly wielding harpoon at Kenai Peninsula dipnetting site

An Alaska state trooper shot and killed a 67-year-old Kasilof man “brandishing a harpoon” at a Kenai Peninsula beach early Monday, officials said.

Troopers were called to South Kasilof Beach, a popular dipnetting spot, at 12:19 a.m. Monday for a report that a man armed with a sword was threatening to kill people, the Alaska State Troopers wrote in an initial account of events.

When troopers arrived, they found Kirk Medak carrying what appeared to be a 7-foot long metal harpoon with a pointed tip, similar to those used for deep sea halibut fishing, according to Alaska Department of Public Safety spokesman Austin McDaniel.

Troopers say Medak initially moved toward at a patrol car before retreating when when he was told to step back.

[Man shot by police in East Anchorage after he fired at them, APD says].

Then, according to the officers’ version of events, Medak “he began to charge at them while still brandishing the harpoon and ignoring the Trooper’s commands.”

A trooper shot Medak, who was declared dead at the scene, according to the dispatch.


The incident is being investigated by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.

The entire encounter from the time officers arrived to the time Medak was shot happened in less than a minute, McDaniel said.

It was captured on body-worn camera footage and on in-dash cameras that has not yet been released to the public. Troopers are required to carry pepper spray and Tasers on duty at all times.

The incident is the first fatal shooting by the Alaska State Troopers in 2024.

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Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.