Both the inbound and outbound lanes of the Seward Highway have been reopened following a 12-hour closure overnight.
The road was closed between McHugh Creek and Beluga Point as officials with the Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage police and SWAT dealt with a “distraught male who fired gunshots and threatened a citizen.”
The suspect has been identified as 36-year-old Kevin Thibodeau, according to a release from the Alaska State Troopers. He has not been located.
Thibodeau is charged with third-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon, and an arrest warrant has been issued.
Kevin Thibodeau, 36, is charged with third-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon. (Courtesy AST)
Anchorage Police initially responded to the area after receiving multiple calls stating that a man with a gun was threatening people and firing shots in the Beluga Point parking lot Wednesday evening, according to Lt. Kevin Vandegriff, head of special operations with the Anchorage Police Department.
Police were unable to see the man when they arrived on scene but could hear gunshots, Vandegriff stated. The Seward Highway was then completely shut down out of concern for public safety.
“The police did not have a visual observation of this individual, but we did have a citizen who pointed in the direction of where this individual was last seen, and described the gun, and described the individual,” said Vandegriff.
The man’s truck was located in the parking lot. After running the plates, it was discovered that police had a “previous encounter” with the man earlier in the day, Vandegriff confirmed. No additional detail about the encounter was given.
The Seward Highway remained closed overnight out of precaution as officials with Anchorage police, troopers and roughly 30 SWAT officers searched for the suspect.
Thursday morning, police found the man’s pistol and spent shells near the waterfront but were unable to locate the suspect. Around 9:30 a.m., the road was reopened. The man’s truck was impounded by police, but his whereabouts are unknown, said Vandegriff.
Shortly after 9 a.m., Anchorage police Sgt. Craig Evans said officers were still “attempting to make contact with the individual.”
School bus service for Girdwood-area families was cancelled Thursday morning due to the closure. The Girdwood K-8 school is having class today.
The Anchorage Police Department first sent out a Nixle alert at 9:25 p.m. Wednesday.
Chugach Electric Company stated on its Twitter account that a crew was delayed in responding to a power outage affecting Girdwood, Portage and Whittier. As of around 1 a.m., the company issued an update that the crew had been escorted through the police barricade and was on its way to restore power.
“Anyone with information regarding possible whereabouts of Thibodeau is asked to contact Alaska State Troopers at 262-4453 or Anchorage Police Department at 786-8900,” troopers wrote.
Lauren Maxwell, Daniella Rivera, Jason Sear and Shannon Kemp contributed reporting.