Four Fairbanks police officers, including the department’s chief, have been cleared of wrongdoing by state prosecutors in a May shooting that killed a 23-year-old suspect who fired a gun from a vehicle before crashing into a blockade on the Mitchell Expressway.


Chief Eric Jewkes, Sgt. Ron Dupee and Officers Dennis Benn and Tyler Larimer were “legally justified in their use of deadly force against Shawn Buck” on May 25, police spokeswoman Yumi McCulloch said in a statement Thursday. That determination was made by the state Office of Special Prosecutions.


Police and Alaska State Troopers had initially tried to stop Buck, who had warrants out for his arrest, during a traffic stop on the Old Richardson Highway at about 3:15 p.m. Prosecutors’ review, McCulloch said, found that Buck had “used a stolen vehicle and revolver as weapons against multiple law enforcement officers and put multiple citizens at risk by his conduct.”


“Buck led (troopers) on a high-speed pursuit through a residential area, traveled the wrong way on several roadways and approached speeds of approximately 100 mph,” McCulloch wrote. “Buck fired shots at officers numerous times throughout the pursuit and nearly caused a collision with a citizen.”


Police were able to deflate his tires with spike strips, before he turned around onto the Richardson Highway and tried to exit at the expressway. The officers fired on Buck when he rammed a police vehicle and one belonging to troopers; he died that afternoon at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.


McCulloch said an administrative review of the officers’ actions within the department would take place following the prosecutorial review.


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