Police ID suspects in south Anchorage coffee shop robberies
Anchorage Police say a series of armed robberies at coffee shops led to a police pursuit with shots fired Monday morning in south Anchorage.
On Tuesday morning, police spokesman MJ Thim named the two suspects as 27-year-old Myles Gonangnan and 35-year-old Shane Twigg, saying both were charged with offenses including first-degree robbery and eluding or evading police. Twigg was arraigned Thursday.
"Due to the violent nature of the crimes committed, Gonangnan and Twigg may face additional charges as the investigation continues," Thim wrote in a statement.
No further charges had been filed as of Thursday, when police identified the officer who fired on the suspects as Noel Senoran, an 18-year veteran of the force.
Thim said Tuesday that it wasn't clear which of the suspects had fired on officers from an SUV being chased by police.
"Our investigation is that they acted as a team," Thim said.
A Nixle alert sent out around 10:15 Monday morning advised that eastbound Dimond Boulevard was down to one lane at C Street and C Street was closed northbound at Dimond, due to a "police incident".
Thim said Caffe D'Arte was robbed before 8:30 Monday morning. About an hour later, Heavenly Cup, too, was robbed. In both cases, Thim says Gonangnan -- initially described as an adult male on a bike with a hoodie and aviator glasses -- pulled out a gun, demanded money and fled the scene. After fleeing Heavenly Cup, Thim says the suspect got into a waiting vehicle driven by Twigg.
Officers spotted the suspect vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, but at least one occupant began shooting at officers, prompting them to return fire. The SUV continued to drive recklessly, Thim says, driving against traffic, and the pursuit eventually came to an end when officers deployed a PIT maneuver. The vehicle crashed at the entrance of the Costco on Dimond.
APD says one of their officers was injured during the PIT maneuver when the vehicle struck a light pole and was treated on the scene.
Two suspects are in custody for questioning, APD says. No other injuries were reported.
Officers were able to recover the bike and the weapon used during the robberies inside the suspect vehicle, Thim says.
While traffic doesn't appear to be backed up in the area, APD advises motorists to seek alternate routes.
When asked about the shooting, which involved one officer exchanging gunfire with the two suspects during the car chase, Chief of Police, Justin Doll, says a judgment call was made by the officers based on their training, and that there is no set protocol for every possible scenario.
"Yeah, absolutely. I don't think it should come as a surprise to anybody that if people shoot at the police, it's entirely possible and probably likely that the police are going to shoot back, and I don't think it will surprise anybody to hear that," said the Chief.
Doll went on to say since this is an officer-involved shooting, the department has already turned this over to the Office of Special Prosecution. It will take months before they complete their investigation.
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