An afternoon at a Fairbanks library took a strange turn when a man was injured by what was at first thought to be an exploding phone charger, but turned out to be a bullet, according to police.


At 1:15 p.m., Fairbanks fire crews responded to the Noel Wien Library on Cowles Street after receiving a report that someone had been injured “when a cell phone charger plugged into an outlet exploded.” Police spokesman Doug Welborn said fire personnel quickly realized that the 18-year-old victim’s injuries were actually caused by a bullet and called police.


Welborn said the victim had been sitting at a table inside the library, working on his laptop, when he was “struck by a bullet which ricocheted off a wall and access panel before entering and exiting his right forearm.” Welborn said it appeared the bullet was fired from inside, although it’s unclear by who, as no one reported seeing a firearm around the time of the incident or hearing any disputes involving the victim.


The bullet was recovered at the scene, but Welborn said it was hard to tell the specific caliber at this time due to how badly damaged it was.


“It appears to be a pistol caliber,” he added.


No one else was injured during the shooting, although Welborn said another man was seated at the table with the victim.


“According to the victim there was a subject seated on the opposite end of his table at the time of this event,” Welborn said. “The victim reports this subject checked on him after being struck by the bullet.”


The man is believed to be in his 20’s and was described as a stocky with dread locks and a beard, according to Welborn, who said the man is considered a person of interest in this case. The man was wearing a blue sweatshirt or jacket.


“There are cameras inside the library so we will be looking into that footage more tomorrow when the appropriate people are available to pull it for us,” Welborn said.


Anyone with information about the incident or the identity of the person of interest is asked to email Fairbanks police officer Ace Adams at aadams@fairbanks.us and reference case 17-911.


This is a developing story; please check back for updates as they become available. 


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