Suspect identified in officer-involved shooting at Centennial Park

Anchorage police are investigating an officer-involved shooting at Centennial Park.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 9:07 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 3:32 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage police are investigating an officer-involved shooting at Centennial Park late Wednesday night.

According to a community alert, two officers were conducting a security check at the Centennial Park Campground when, at 7:52 p.m., they spotted a truck that resembled a vehicle that had previously eluded Anchorage police on Tuesday. Police wrote that both officers then attempted to make contact with 32-year-old Iese Gali Jr.

Police wrote that Gali ignored the officers’ attempts, then entered the front passenger seat of a nearby van.

“A struggle ensued during which time Gali produced a firearm and fired at the officers, injuring one,” police wrote. “Both officers returned fire and radioed for backup.”

Police wrote that citizens provided aid to the policeman. Gali has been served a warrant, including the charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, third-degree assault and third-degree misconduct involving a weapon.

Police wrote both officers were involved in the shooting. One officer and Gali were both sent to a local hospital with injuries, but are both expected to survive. According to the alert, Gali was shot multiple times and the other officer was uninjured.

The Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions will review the officers’ use of force to determine whether or not it was justified before it is then reviewed by the department’s internal affairs to check for policy violations. The public will be able to review the report from the Office of Special Prosecutions after it is completed.

Gali is being held under a $1 million cash bond, according to the Department of Law. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 99 years for the attempted murder charge, 20 years for the first-degree assault charge, and five years for the third-degree assault and misconduct involving weapons charges.

Per department policy, the officers will be placed on four days of administrative leave. Their names will not be released until 72 hours after the shooting.

Anchorage Police Department Chief Michael Kerle held a brief press conference Wednesday night to address the shooting.

Mayor Dave Bronson issued the following statement on the shooting:

“Deb and I are praying for the officer who was shot last night. The officer is expected to make a full recovery. Anchorage Police Department Chief Kerle stated last night during the APD press conference that two Anchorage Police Officers were conducting a security check at Centennial Campground when they encountered an adult male who was suspected of an earlier eluding. The suspect had a felony warrant and is a career criminal. This was an officer-initiated contact because of criminal activity that happened elsewhere.  It’s unfortunate that APD found him at Centennial but I thank God that the officer who was shot is expected to make a full recovery and the suspect was apprehended.  Safety and protection for everyone who lives in Anchorage is a priority no matter where they are at which includes safe sheltering for those who choose to camp outside. And last night’s incident is a testament to our brave men and women in law enforcement who are willing to go anywhere to protect residents and to stop people who break the law. If you see criminal activity anywhere in the city, please call APD. I will always stand behind our law enforcement as they put their lives on the line to protect and serve our great city every single day.”

Anchorage Assembly Acting Chair Chris Constant also released a statement on the shooting, which can be read below.

Earlier Wednesday, a fifth bear was shot near the campground, which was given a waiver to allow homeless residents to camp for free earlier in July. Many of the Centennial Campground residents previously stayed at the Sullivan Arena mass care shelter.

Editors note: This story has been updated with additional information from the police.

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