October 17, 2016 - 4:29 PM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The armed assailant who opened fire on an Alaska police officer struck him five times, including once in the chest, police said Monday.
Fairbanks Sgt. Allen Brandt, an 11-year veteran, was struck early Sunday as he responded to reports of shots fired in a residential neighbourhood just east of downtown.
Brandt was rushed to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and then flown to an Anchorage hospital in serious condition.
The suspect remains at large. He is described as an Alaska Native man about 20 years old.
In a press briefing that lasted about five minutes Monday afternoon, Acting Fairbanks Police Chief Brad Johnson said dispatchers shortly after midnight took witness calls reporting shots fired and a man screaming. Brandt and other officers responded.
Brandt drove east on Seventh Avenue and his dashboard camera records him slowing down as a man on the near sidewalk, wearing a cap and a heavy winter coat, approaches with his hands at his side.
As the patrol car stops, the man moves his right hand toward his coat pocket but continues out of the picture.
A few seconds later, the man, gripping a handgun with both hands, runs around the front of the car.
Brandt managed to fire back at the suspect but it's not known whether he was hit, Johnson said. He did not release details of how Johnson exited the car or from where he returned fire.
The suspect drove off in the patrol car. Police found it roughly two blocks away. The dash cam shows the suspect again walking in front of the patrol car, illuminated by vehicle's headlights.
Brandt moved off the street. He radioed his location and reported that he had been shot. Responding officers administered first aid.
Body armour protected Brandt from the shot to the chest but bullet fragments struck his eye.
The other four shots him in the legs. He was listed Monday as stable. He was awake and alert, Johnson said.
The department has no evidence to suggest that race or ethnicity played a role in the attack, Johnson said.
"We are working to identify a criminal who perpetrated a cowardly act," he said. "We are doing so irrespective of his race or ethnicity, but for the act he committed."
He noted that the shooting occurred as Fairbanks this week prepares to host thousands of delegates and family members to the annual conference of the Alaska Federation of Natives, the largest gathering of Alaska Natives in the state.
"We continue to do our best to provide a safe and welcoming environment to our guests," he said.
The department has set up a phone line and email address for information on the shooting and has received dozens of tips, Johnson said. He did not take questions after his statement.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016