APD releases names of officers who opened fire on suspect in parking lot shooting
Anchorage police have named the three officers who opened fire and killed a male suspect after he shot at police during attempts to take him into custody at a Fred Meyer parking lot late Wednesday night.
According to APD spokesperson Nora Morse, Seth McMillan, who has been with APD since November 2003, Charles Robertson who has been with APD since August 1998 and Theron Peplow who has been with APD since January 2014 were the officers involved in the shooting.
Thomas Barclay had been sought on several felony warrants, according to a police statement, when officers contacted him and used their vehicles to surround his in the parking lot of the Fred Meyer store on Muldoon Road at about 11:20 p.m. Wednesday. The felonies named in the warrants included assault, as well as obstruction of court orders on charges of drug possession, felony DUI and weapons misconduct.
“Officers shot a less-lethal round into Barclay’s vehicle to break his back window to create a way for Barclay to safely exit the vehicle at the direction of the officers,” police wrote. “Barclay then produced a gun and pointed it at officers. Officers opened fire killing Barclay.”
At a Thursday press conference, APD Chief Justin Doll said a woman in the vehicle with Barclay was unhurt and taken to police headquarters for questioning.
Barclay was believed to have fired at least two rounds from the vehicle before he was shot and killed. Doll said officers have recently been trying to track him down.
“They’ve been aware of Barclay for about a week and have been trying to take him into custody, and were ultimately successful last night,” Doll said.
Doll said the less-lethal shot used to shatter the rear window was a large-caliber, slow-moving round, typically used to break cover and knock down suspects without killing them.
Two officers fired their duty weapons at Barclay when he opened fire, Doll said, but several other officers – including one from a K-9 unit – were on hand as the situation rapidly unfolded.
“It would be on the order of minutes,” Doll said. “It was not an extremely long time.”
Morse said in an email following the press conference that the woman taken into custody from the sedan police had surrounded was Barclay’s significant other. The rear window was broken with a projectile from an Arwen, a British-made 37mm less-lethal munitions launcher.
Morse didn’t have details on what communications if any police had with Barclay, 48, prior to the gunfire. She also didn’t have word on whether police had considered the use of tear gas before Barclay opened fire.
“Each situation is dynamic and unique, but officers try to utilize less lethal tools whenever it is safe to do so,” Morse wrote.
The officers who fired on Barclay were placed on administrative leave. Doll said their names were being withheld for 72 hours in accordance with department policy, as the state Office of Special Prosecutions evaluates the shooting.
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