Law enforcement officers from around the state who were in Anchorage for Police Memorial Day ceremonies assisted Anchorage police in apprehending a vehicle theft suspect Friday, as did two civilians.


The Anchorage Police Department named 35-year-old David Fatialofa as the suspect arrested in East Anchorage Friday afternoon after a massive search was conducted. The search was initiated after unmarked police officers reported being fired upon by Fatialofa, who they were following in a Honda Civic that was reported stolen.


“Fatialofa is known to police and considered an officer safety risk,” Anchorage police said in a statement, adding he already had a felony warrant for his arrest for another vehicle theft when he was spotted in the stolen vehicle around 3:30 p.m.


More than 100 law enforcement officers from around the state were at the Alaska State Crime Lab around the same time for a ceremony honoring officers killed in the line of duty. “A large number” of those officers left the ceremony to assist Anchorage police in apprehending Fatialofa, creating a perimeter around his location in the Russian Jack area, just north of Reka Drive. Alaska State Troopers’ Helo 3 helicopter was also dispatched, used to search for the suspect from the air.


While the perimeter was in place, a vehicle associated with Fatialofa was spotted by police. They stopped the vehicle, and Fatialofa ran out, “[darting] in and out of traffic on Debarr Road” before attempting to hide in the Golden Nugget Trailer Park on Hoyt Street. Police pursued him and he ran to the Debarr Road Costco parking lot, where two pedestrians, aware of APD’s activities, saw him run towards them and held him so police could arrest him.


“Both citizens grabbed Fatialofa while officers brought him to the ground and took him into custody at about 4:40 p.m.,” police said.


Fatialofa faces multiple charges, including vehicle theft, burglary, failure to stop at the direction of an officer and second-degree theft, according to police. His bail was set at $22,000 with a third-party custodian requirement, and his first court appearance was scheduled for Saturday afternoon.


Police also charged 19-year-old Raihana Hansen, the driver of the vehicle Fatialofa used in his attempt to flee, with hindering prosecution. Her bail was set at $2,500.


Both Fatialofa and Hansen were taken to the Anchorage Correctional Complex.


Elementary schools in the vicinity of police activity were notified and took security precautions, police said. No one was hurt during their search.


“APD would like to thank the actions of the two civilians who assisted in the apprehension of Fatialofa as well as the law enforcement from other agencies who supported the mission,” police said.


This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


Editor’s note: While police have reported being shot at by Fatialofa, no related charges have filed.


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