Fairbanks police chief among officers involved in fatal shooting of pursuit suspect

The chief of the Fairbanks Police Department was one of four Fairbanks police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old man who allegedly rammed patrol cars Thursday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers on Sunday identified the officers involved as Tyler Larimer, Dennis Benn, Ron Dupee and Chief Eric Jewkes. Each of the officers' exact role in the shooting isn't yet known.

The incident began when police tried Thursday to pull over suspect Shawn Buck, who had "known warrants," according to the department's version of events. The traffic stop led to a pursuit that ended at an on-ramp to the Mitchell Expressway, when the suspect "proceeded to ram" occupied trooper and police cars.

Police opened fire on Buck; he later died at a hospital.

Jewkes is a 23-year veteran of the department who became Fairbanks' top police official only months ago, after his predecessor resigned amid a conflict-of-interest investigation. 

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation, an arm of the Alaska State Troopers, is handling the investigation of Thursday's incident.

Under department policy, all police officers involved in a fatal shooting must go on administrative leave for at least three days. Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment, but the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that Matherly appointed Deputy Chief Dan Welborn to serve as the acting chief in Jewkes' absence.

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.