Crime & Courts

Standoff ends in Northwest Alaska village; 1 dead

A man who barricaded himself inside a home in a Northwest Alaska village after a person was found dead outside was apprehended by Alaska State Troopers on Monday afternoon.

Troopers said the man was taken into custody in Selawik at about 2:30 p.m. Troopers flew to the village after receiving a report shortly after 4:30 a.m. that a man was shooting a firearm.

Selawik Police Department patrolman Brent Norton said he was patrolling on a Honda four-wheeler Monday morning when he found a man lying on a boardwalk.

"I didn't know he was dead at first," Norton said. "As soon as I try to pick him up to put him on the Honda, the other guy started shooting at me."

Norton estimated the gunman fired at least 10 times while shouting profanities.

"I was very scared," Norton said. "I was scared for my life."

Norton, a patrolman for about a year and a Selawik resident for 28 years, was uninjured and left to find help moving the dead man.


Meanwhile, the suspect, whom police have not identified, barricaded himself inside a home.

Speaking shortly before 10 a.m., Norton said police had surrounded the home, and there appeared to be no movement inside. Norton said he knew of no other injuries in the incident.

Richard Solomon, Selawik police on-call patrolman, said the home was roughly 60 feet from the boardwalk. The suspect fired from a window at one point, Solomon said.

Eventually, the man left the home and stood on outdoor steps, holding an ax. A trooper tried to talk him into putting down his weapon, Solomon said.

"He basically told him, 'Don't make anything worse. Just put everything down and come over,'" Solomon said. The man put down the ax, he said.

"After that, he got him in handcuffs and started walking him away from the scene," Solomon said.

Troopers are withholding the name of the victim until next of kin is notified, trooper spokesperson Megan Peters said.

Four troopers based in Kotzebue flew to the village shortly before 8 a.m, according to Peters. Officials asked Selawik residents to stay away from the scene as authorities tried for a peaceful resolution to the situation.

Selawik is a community of about 875 people at the mouth of the Selawik River, roughly 90 miles east of Kotzebue.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Megan Edge

Megan Edge is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch and Alaska Dispatch News.