Details Released in Fatal Police Shooting in Alaska Which Injured Officer
FAIRBANKS (AP) - A man killed in a shootout with authorities in Fairbanks last week died of a single bullet wound, Alaska State Troopers said.
George Riley Williamson, 37, was shot after he fired a 9 mm semiautomatic gun at officers, striking a Fairbanks police sergeant in the right thigh, troopers said Tuesday. Williamson died at the scene of the gun exchange, which began when two airport officers tried to stop him because his pickup truck had a taillight out.
Sgt. James Geier is back on his feet, police said. The 43-year-old department veteran visited the station Monday and is walking stiffly but on his own, said Lt. Dusty Johnson said.
"He seems to be in good spirits," Johnson said.
Fairbanks International Airport police officer Nick Zito, 26, and recruit Casandra Champagne, 23, also were involved in the shooting and were still on administrative leave Monday morning, said Mike Supkis, chief of fire and police for the airport.
Williamson was driving his truck when Zito - with Champagne riding along as part of her training - tried to pull him over near the intersection of the Johansen Expressway and University Avenue shortly after 3 a.m. Dec. 23, troopers said.
Williamson didn't stop and officers pursued him through the city, joined by Geier, and found the vehicle stuck in a snow berm about seven miles north of the city.
Williamson ran from the vehicle and the officers followed him. The driver had a gun and fired it, said trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson. The officers returned fire.
Wilkinson said Zito was closest to Williamson and was within 20 feet during the confrontation.
Wilkinson wouldn't say how many times the officers shot at Williamson or who fired the fatal shot.
"There's evidence (Williamson) fired multiple times," Wilkinson said. "We're not exactly sure how many times he fired."
Wilkinson said a substance suspected to be illegal drugs was found on Williamson's body, but it has been sent to a lab for testing.