FAIRBANKS, Alaska — An Alaska State Troopers investigation found Fairbanks police were “legally justified” in the use of deadly force in a May 25 shooting.
A news release from the police department Thursday relayed the results of the investigation into the shooting of Shawn Buck on a South Fairbanks expressway overpass.
The release states Buck fired a revolver at law enforcement officers “numerous times” during a pursuit, and “at the time the officers fired their weapons, they all believed that they or their fellow officers were about to be killed or gravely injured by Buck.”
Alaska State Troopers reported in May a trooper started the chase after he recognized Buck driving on a highway near Fairbanks.
At the time, Buck had a felony warrant related to a 2014 theft conviction. The release states the white pickup truck Buck was driving was stolen.
At the end of the chase, Buck drove the pickup in reverse into the front of a vacant Alaska State Trooper vehicle, the report states.
Four Fairbanks police officers, including Police Chief Eric Jewkes, fired their weapons at Buck. All the officers returned to work after three days of administrative leave required by department policy. The other officers who fired their weapons were Sgt. Ron Dupee and officers Dennis Benn and Tyler Larimer, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/2tJjf4J ).
Randy Buck was a witness to his son’s shooting, arriving at the overpass moments before police began to shoot. He objected Thursday to the conclusion of the state prosecutor’s report. Randy Buck said his son was not directly in a position to hit anyone with his truck at the time police opened fire, because — as police also state — the trooper car that Buck hit was vacant.
On the day of the shooting, Randy Buck said he got a call about the chase from his son’s girlfriend.
“At first I thought, ‘So what?’ They’ll do what they’re going to do,” Randy Buck said Thursday in a phone interview with the newspaper. “They’ll tackle him and take him to jail.”
Randy Buck ran up to the overpass and saw his son just before police started shooting.
“He threw (the truck) in reverse and was trying to get away from them,” Randy Buck said of his son. “What they did was murder. They’re not going to get away with it.”
Randy Buck said he didn’t know whether or not his son fired a revolver out the window as the law enforcement report states. He said he’s requested dash camera video from law enforcement, but has not received it.
Fairbanks police department spokeswoman Yumi McCulloch said Thursday that body and dash camera footage were recorded. She said release of the video has not been discussed.
The Daily News-Miner requested documents and dash camera footage related to the case on June 28. Troopers responded June 30 that the response would be delayed because the case was still open and being actively investigated.