Hillside standoff ends after 42 hours; 69-year-old suspect confirmed dead
Last updated at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23
The 42-hour-long Hillside standoff, in which two officers were injured and multiple rounds of gunfire exchanged, has ended.
Police found Robert Musser, 69, deceased in his home early Friday morning, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department.
“An investigation and autopsy will determine the cause and nature of Musser’s death,” the APD release states. “The medical examiner will take custody of the body.”
Gimani Street will remain closed for several hours as the investigation into the standoff is still ongoing, police said.
“An initial estimate would probably be in the $100,000 figure,” APD chief Chris Tolley said at a press briefing Friday when asked about the estimated costs associated with the standoff.
Police used heavy equipment to tear a hole in the side of Musser’s home after repeated attempts to force him out were unsuccessful. Six officers who fired at Musser during two separate exchanges have been placed on administrative leave, Tolley confirmed.
“It is not how we wanted this response to go,” said Tolley. “It is absolutely heartbreaking when these events result in the loss of life.”
Update, 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22
Two police officers were shot and injured Thursday at the scene of a standoff between a 69-year-old veteran and police in the Anchorage hillside neighborhood.
The two Anchorage police officers were injured in an exchange of gunfire, Anchorage police chief Chris Tolley said during a press briefing Thursday.
“One officer was transported to a local hospital for treatment where he is expected to survive,” said Tolley. “The other officer’s injuries were treated at the scene.”
The man, identified by police as Robert Musser, is still inside the home as police and SWAT teams remain on scene, according to Tolley.
Musser has been formerly charged with two counts of third-degree felony assault with a weapon and three misdemeanor counts of firing recklessly related to the over 36-hour-long standoff.
Shortly thereafter, an ambulance was seen headed toward the home.
“What we want to do is have a peaceful resolution to this and not see any further injuries to anybody, including the suspect,” Tolley said, noting police were not currently a dialogue with suspect. “This is a blow to the community. There’s not doubt about this. A lot going on here, but yet, in the light of incidents like this, I’m just amazed at how much the department holds it together, as well as the community.”
Tolley said the department would be at the scene “as long as it takes.”
Some neighbors have left their homes with help from police, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. She said FBI resources utilized at another, unrelated standoff Thursday were requested for Hillside following the apprehension of the other suspect, 29-year-old Joseph Szajkowski.
Residents in a Hillside neighborhood went to bed Wednesday with tactical police teams nearby and woke up to the same scene Thursday morning, as an hours-long standoff between an Anchorage man and police continues.
The man allegedly shot at contractors doing mitigation work on a power line easement Wednesday, according to the Anchorage Police Department (APD). He later fired at police during the standoff.
A heavily armored vehicle, along with heavy construction equipment arrived on scene late Thursday morning.
In a release Wednesday morning, police stated officers were attempting to make contact the person at 12000 block of Ginami Street near Upper Huffman Road who reportedly fired shots at the workers. APD said there are no injuries reported, but ask people to avoid the area.
KTVA is on scene where officers still have not made contact with the man who they believe fired the shots. APD is working out how to do so safely. SWAT was also dispatched to the scene.
The suspect fired shots at officers around 4:30 p.m., according to APD spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. He came out, shot at them and then went back in, she said. No one was hurt and officers retreated.
Gas was deployed shortly after the alleged attack on officers, police at the scene said. Police said they’ve attempted to draw him out with gas during two other instances during the standoff.
Julie Hasquet, spokesperson with Chugach Electric Association, said the crew that was shot at were contractors working for the company. The tree clearing company, Carlos Tree Service, was clearing brush behind or next to property lines to keep things from hitting power lines.
Bill Bernier, vice president of power delivery for Chugach Electric Association, said he was notified about the incident by a text message. He was told the crew was shot at and everyone was OK, but the equipment was left where they had been working.
“They are instructed — and if anybody gets hostile — to back off. And if it’s a police matter, get the police involved,” Bernier said.
Bernier, who’s been with the company for 17 years, said this is the first time anything like this has happened to a crew.
He said the work was not related to the recent wind storm but the crew was doing mitigation work that lessens the impact of storms.
This is a developing story; please check back and watch KTVA News tonight following the NFL game for the latest.
KTVA’s Bonney Bowman, Daniella Rivera and Sierra Starks contributed to this report.
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