Officer involved shooting: Fairbanks troopers report suspect brandished realistic assault rifle replica
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Update: The trooper who was involved in the shooting has been identified as Alaska State Trooper Garrett Stephens, a one-year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers currently assigned to Fairbanks patrol.
According to a dispatch posted on Friday by the Alaska State Troopers (AST), there was an officer involved shooting in Fairbanks early Friday morning. The suspect was reported deceased at the scene.
At approximately 2:40 a.m. Friday morning, Fairbanks troopers observed a silver SUV driving recklessly near College Road and University Avenue, close to the Gold Rush Estates Trailer Park. The SUV came close to colliding with a marked AST patrol vehicle, causing the trooper to take evasive action. A traffic stop was attempted but the driver failed to stop and fled the scene in the SUV.
A vehicle pursuit took place and the trooper followed the SUV to a wooded area between the Fairbanks International Airport and the Tanana River flood dike. At this point the driver, who was also the sole occupant of the vehicle, exited the SUV and pointed what troopers say appeared to be an assault rifle, at the trooper. One trooper discharged their duty weapon, striking the driver. The driver was declared deceased at the scene and next of kin has been notified.
The driver has been identified as Dimitri Lanahan, 23 of Anchorage.
Further investigation revealed that what troopers thought was an assault rifle was actually a realistic replica, designed to look like an assault rifle. According to AST, the weapon did not contain any obvious markings that would have distinguished it from a real firearm. It was also revealed that the silver SUV had previously been reported stolen in Anchorage and that Lanahan had an outstanding felony no-bail arrest warrant for Escape in the Second Degree.
No law enforcement officers were injured during the incident and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation is now conducting a thorough investigation into the incident; once complete, their investigation will then be reviewed by the Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions. The name of the trooper that discharged their service weapon will be released 72 hours after the initial incident, per department policy.
This is a developing story and will be updated once more information becomes available.
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