Alaska State Troopers Name Officers Involved in Fatal Shooting Near Healy
FAIRBANKS — The two Alaska State Troopers who shot and killed a man near 270 Mile of the Parks Highway on Friday are both Fairbanks-based troopers.
Sgt. Chad Goeden, a 16-year veteran of the force, and Lucas Altepeter, a trooper for six years, were identified on Monday as the two troopers who shot and killed Atom Ziniewicz, 34, of Falls Church, Va., at approximately noon on Friday. Both are members of the agency’s Special Emergency Reaction Team.
Troopers were searching the woods around several cabins in an effort to find Ziniewicz, who had earlier shot another man. The wounded man, 21-year-old Brenton A. Green, of Wasilla, who was not seriously hurt, escaped to the highway and notified troopers in Fairbanks at 6:45 a.m.
As troopers searched the area, Ziniewicz appeared about 30 yards from state troopers and “produced a handgun, resulting in the troopers using deadly force,” according to an agency press release.
Troopers have not said whether Ziniewicz pointed or fired the gun at them. Spokeswoman Megan Peters said the investigation is being conducted by the Alaska Bureau of Investigations.
Troopers haven’t said why Ziniewicz confronted and shot Green, who was treated and released Friday from Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
Locals in Healy who had contact with Ziniewicz described him as a drifter who showed up earlier this summer in the community about 20 miles north of Denial Park. Ziniewicz told several people in the community that he was a former Green Beret and was planning to live in the woods this winter and write a book.
The results of the trooper investigation will be turned over to the Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals to determine whether the use of deadly force by the troopers was justified.
An autopsy was expected to be performed at the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage on Monday.
Contact Fairbanks Daily News-Miner staff writer Tim Mowry at 907-459-7587.