January 10, 2010 – An Anchorage police officer was ambushed early Saturday while he sat in his patrol car working on an apparently unrelated case, and officials consider the possibility this was a copy-cat of recent Washington shootings that left six officers dead in two months. Click here for more information about those shootings.
City officials have vowed they will catch those responsible in the Anchorage shooting. The officer shot has not yet been named as his wife was in the hospital with her husband and has not yet told their children of the shooting.
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said during an afternoon press briefing, “”We are shocked, we are outraged, we are angered. This officer was doing what he does every day and that is keeping the community safe. When somebody attacks a police officer, they’re attacking our entire community.“
KING 5 News reported Lt. Dave Koch said several men pulled up next to the driver’s side in a dark-colored sedan shortly before 2 a.m. The front passenger fired some rounds and the officer was struck possibly five times in both arms and his torso. He was taken to a nearby hospital, underwent surgery, and is expected to recover.
The officer had been sitting in his parked marked cruiser in a residential neighborhood near downtown after taking a domestic violence report on an incident that had occurred in the past.
Police said none of the men in the car said anything and their motive is unknown. Police do not believe this was a random shooting and said, “He was sitting in a police car, he was in a police uniform. He was shot because he was a police officer,” Koch said. “There’s nothing random about it.“
The officer was able to call in a description of the vehicle, which is believed to be a late 1980’s to mid-1990’s model, probably a Chevrolet. A neighbor also called 911. Police say they are investigating video.
The officer has undergone surgery and is listed in stable condition. He has been with the department for more than eight years.
Lt. Dave Parker said this incident was very reminiscent of the incident on Halloween where two Seattle officers were ambushed while they were discussing another case. One officer, Timothy Brenton, was killed, the other was wounded.
Just a month later during the Thanksgiving weekend four officers sitting in a Pierce County coffee shop working on their laptops preparing for their shift were ambushed. All four died. Their killer was later shot and killed by an officer during a routine traffic stop.
On Christmas week two officers were shot when they responded to a routine domestic violence call. Sgt. Nick Hausner survived and Dep. Nick Mundell died a week later from injuries resulting from gunshot wounds.
Until the assailant in Saturday’s Anchorage shooting is caught there is no way to determine whether it was a copy of the Washington attacks, Parker said.
“But it’s sure interesting that we’ve had so many recently,” he said.
KING 5 News reported that although the Anchorage assailants are unknown, police are conducting many interviews, including calls to informants. They have located two possible suspects, who have since been eliminated.
“We will find these … individuals involved in this and bring them to justice,” acting police Chief Steve Smith said.