Video details dramatic Centennial Park shooting
Anchorage police officer and suspect both shot during tense standoff at Northeast Anchorage campground
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As the Anchorage Police Department investigates a police-involved shootout that erupted at a campground at Centennial Park on Wednesday night, dramatic cellphone video shows the moments after the violence broke out.
The park is currently being used as a temporary homeless shelter, now said to be housing nearly 200 people after the closure of Sullivan Arena.
The man who shot the video told Alaska’s News Source that he didn’t want to be identified, but said he hoped by sharing his video, it would illustrate the dangers that homeless people face while living at the park.
Soon after shots were fired, the individual — who said he is a U.S. Marine — grabbed his cell phone and recorded the incident. In the video, the man can be heard discussing the situation with others.
“I jumped on the ground, man. Right back to basic training,” he can be heard saying in the video.
“Gun shots, just a bunch of gun shots,” one man can be heard saying in the video. “Now, a bunch of police. They’re saying, ‘Let me see your hands, let me see your hands,’ It’s a standoff.”
Another camper then arrived and described what he saw.
“The cop opened the door and the dude just, the dude just started firing, the cops started firing, and then the officer got shot, and he’s on the ground in the camp,” the man can be heard saying in the video.
The wounded officer was taken to a hospital. Anchorage police then surrounded the suspect, who was on the ground after being shot multiple times by police. Video shows he groaned in pain when they repositioned him.
It was Mary Tucker’s first night living at the campground, but now she said she wishes it could be her last. Tucker said she witnessed the shootout between the suspect and officers.
“I thought it was firecrackers, but all of a sudden I see all of the cops getting down behind their cars, shooting at these people, the guy,” Tucker recalled.
Meanwhile, the Marine continued narrating what he saw in real-time. Video shows that while waiting for medics to arrive, police processed the scene and photographed the suspect, while he was still laying on the ground. Medics soon arrived to provide him assistance.
Several more officers moved in while homeless campers stood watching. Some had mixed emotions about the ordeal.
“(They are) yelling and cussing the cops out for doing their job, and I said, ‘Hey, they’re only doing their job,’' Tucker said. ” I pray to God he’s doing okay because I do believe in God.”
Tucker showed no sympathy for the man who police shot.
“The guy brought a gun on this property, which you ain’t supposed to have a gun on this property,” she said.
Jimmie Hartley, one of the many living at the campground, became emotional when told the officer was shot.
“These men and women put themselves ... in the face of danger,” Hartley said. “They willingly take those tests. It’s a shame that somebody got shot.”
Some at the campground say they don’t feel safe and would prefer more police presence. Others have a gloomy outlook and feel this latest situation is a sign of more bad things to come.
It’s against policy for campers to openly drink alcohol at Centennial Park, but many campers told Alaska’s News Source that’s not being enforced. Campers said that bottles of alcohol are frequently passed around between campers in plain sight, some campers become so inebriated they fall down while walking on trails, and some scream at each other and start fights, often resulting in injuries that require medical attention.
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