Rural Alaska

Person shot by Kotzebue officer after brandishing a knife, police say

A Kotzebue Police Department officer shot a person with a knife who “moved to attack” them this week in the Northwest Arctic Borough town, the agency said.

Two police officers arrived at South Tent City — an area just south of town that’s used for recreation — on Thursday evening and encountered a person brandishing a knife, the Kotzebue Police Department said in a statement. City Attorney Joe Evans said Friday that officers had received a call for service to the area, but that he didn’t know the details of exactly why they were called there.

According to the police statement, the person walked toward the responding officers and “refused to drop the knife.”

“The person moved to attack one of the officers, who was forced to discharge his service weapon,” the department said.

The officer who fired struck the person twice, and both officers performed first aid until an ambulance arrived to take the person to a local health center, according to police. They were treated there before being flown to Anchorage for surgery, the police department said. Evans said there wasn’t an update available on their condition as of late Friday afternoon.

According to Evans, the Kotzebue Police Department has a process in place that determines whether an officer involved in a shooting will be placed on leave, and their resulting status can vary. Evans said he didn’t know whether a decision had been made yet regarding the officer in this incident.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is assisting Kotzebue police with the investigation into the shooting, Alaska State Troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said.

Evans said that to his knowledge, no charges had been filed in the case.

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