Investigations Into 2 December Shootings By Bethel Police Continue

Dec 16, 2020

Credit Bethel Police Department

The investigations into the two shootings by Bethel police from earlier this month are ongoing. Bethel Police Chief Richard Simmons said that the two incidents are unrelated.

“There were completely different personnel on at the time from two different rotations, the persons involved are unrelated, and there was no similarity in how the cases evolved,” Simmons wrote in an email to KYUK. “Bethel’s officers handle weekly violence with weapons calls and felonious assaults, and the potential for things to become very dangerous on calls is real.”

The names of the officers and men who were shot have not been released. Neither have the charges against the suspects.

In the first shooting on Dec. 5, police said that a man holding two axes threatened officers outside of Alba’s Coffee Shop. Simmons said that the man who was shot was released from the hospital that same day, and was taken into custody at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center. The officers who responded to the scene were placed on administrative leave, and will return to active duty in the coming days.

In the second shooting on Dec. 11, Alaska State Troopers said that a man threatened police officers with a knife. Simmons said that the man who was shot was flown to Anchorage for surgery and is still in the hospital recovering. The officers involved remain on administrative leave.

Both shootings are being investigated by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.