Man charged with murder in Napaskiak shooting of off-duty officer
A Napaskiak man was arrested on a first-degree murder charge in the shooting of a village police officer from nearby Nunapitchuk last weekend, according to Alaska State Troopers and local authorities.
Troopers responded at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday to reports of the shooting in Napaskiak, a Kuskokwim River community about 7 miles southwest of Bethel. According to an online dispatch, 19-year-old Adam Williams was subsequently taken into custody.
“Investigation revealed (Williams) shot and killed Kyle Wassillie, 26,” troopers wrote.
Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said CPR was attempted on Wassillie, who was shot at a home owned by a relative of Williams, but he couldn’t be resuscitated. A Bethel trooper traveled to Napaskiak by boat to investigate the shooting.
“Both the suspect and victim were reportedly intoxicated when the two got into a fight,” Peters wrote in an email. “The fight ended after the suspect shot the victim with a rifle. The incident was witnessed and a (village public safety officer) was notified. The VPSO responded, detained the suspect and secured the scene until the trooper arrived.”
A criminal complaint against Williams, written by Trooper Zachary Huckstep, said investigators interviewed Williams and another man found at the home, as well as a 17-year-old who had been drinking with them on the evening of the shooting. All of them told troopers they didn’t remember anything from the incident; Williams said the four of them had drank three bottles of alcohol during an early-morning party, after which he was blackout drunk.
Troopers also spoke with a neighbor, however, who said he heard a gunshot at about 8:20 a.m. and saw a “physical fight” and three people through a window of the home. He couldn’t identify two of those people, Huckstep wrote, but he recognized Williams “because of his build and stature.”
“(The neighbor) did not know who the man was Adam was pointing the weapon at,” Huckstep wrote. “(He) mimicked the actions he said he watched and told me he watched Adam fire the rifle a second time, then raise the rifle barrel over his left shoulder, and use the stock of the rifle to butt-stroke the man.”
Roman Daniel, Nunapitchuk’s village police chief, said Wassillie was off-duty at the time of the shooting. He was originally from Nunapitchuk but had worked as a tribal or village police officer there and in various other Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta villages.
Most recently, Daniel said, Wassillie had signed up in June to bolster the four-person Nunapitchuk force while it was short-handed this summer.
“I went on leave down to the state where I’m from, and an officer went fishing in Dillingham,” Daniel said. “He was asked and he agreed to come work when we needed help.”
Wassillie was a good officer, Daniel said, who “helped out wherever he could.”
“He was a really good person,” Daniel said. “If he saw somebody who was down, he left them with a smile on their face.”
Wassillie leaves behind an extended family in Nunapitchuk, Daniel said, including a young girl and boy he had custody of. They are set to begin the first and second grades respectively this fall.
“There’s still a lot of disbelief,” Daniel said.
Wassillie’s next of kin have been notified, troopers said. Williams was taken to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Center; court records showed he was arraigned Sunday, with a public defender assigned to represent him.
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