Police Chief Details Killing of Harry Smith by Officers (Updated with 911 call, prosecutor's report and incident history report)
Said officers didn't know Smith's weapon was a BB gun
UPDATE: Wednesday morning police released the incident report and the 911 call from Russell Smith. The incident history detail can be found here, and the audio of the 911 call and attorney general prosecutor's report are beneath the story.
ANCHORAGE - Police responded to the home of 59-year-old Harry Smith in South Anchorage on July 1 after his son, Russell Smith, called 911 and told dispatch his father was drunk and threatening to harm himself and others.
Two officers shot and killed Harry Smith in his backyard after they say he pointed a weapon at them.
The Office of Special Prosecutions has finished its investigation into the shooting, and found the use of deadly force was justified.
Tuesday, Police Chief Mark Mew said all of the officers who responded that night were interviewed and all said they weren't told the weapon Harry Smith had was a BB gun.
"It's clear that Mr. Smith's son says his father is intoxicated and distraught and suicidal, and that he's going to try and trick the cops into killing him, so we know that much but as I say there is no mention of a gun at that time," Mew said.
"I do not know the officer’s name but I would definitely recognize him by face; he asked me specific questions about the BB gun, he asked my if it was a rifle style, a handgun style,” said Smith.
Chief Mew says even if the responding officers had received information from Smith's son that the weapon was a BB gun they wouldn't have taken the son's word for it, and must react to each situation as it plays out.
In this case, Chief Mew says the BB gun looked exactly like a more lethal Smith and Wesson handgun.
Chief Mew says officers also reported being extra concerned because there were children playing in the adjacent yard. Two officers went to that yard while two others confronted Smith.
During the confrontation the officers say Smith didn’t put the gun down as ordered. Mew says as Smith raised the gun at officers, one shot him with a foam bullet.
But Smith continued to point his weapon.
That’s when the second officer fired two rounds. One hit Smith but Mew says he continued to point the gun at officers.
"At that point the officer fires twice again,” said Mew.
“And one of the team three guys [away] from next door at the residence, who's watching this from a distance, says this isn't working and he takes two shots as well,” said Mew.