Man shot by FPD ‘prepared for armed confrontation’
Fairbanks Police released new details in an officer-involved shooting earlier this week that left one man dead.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Fairbanks Police Chief Eric Jewkes said 21-year-old Matthew Colton Stover was prepared for an armed confrontation with officers.
The incident began Monday around 3 a.m. when a citizen called in suspicious activity in the Denny’s parking lot off Airport Way. The caller reported seeing a man wearing a mask and carrying a rifle.
About a half hour later, staff at Fairbanks Correctional Center noticed a truck near their snow dump and reported it to FPD.
Two Fairbanks officers approached the vehicle, leaving considerable distance — approximately 70 yards — activated their lights and made contact via the PA.
That’s when, Chief Jewkes says, Stover exited his vehicle and started running towards officers, raising and firing an AR-style weapon as he ran towards the patrol cars. The officers returned fire, striking and killing Stover. Several rounds were fired, authorities say, by both officers and Stover.
Following the altercation, after Stover was pronounced deceased, officers began to secure the scene and collect evidence. Chief Jewkes says they recovered the AR-style weapon used in the incident, along with a Glock 9mm, multiple magazines and approximately 400 rounds of ammunition.
Police say Stover was also wearing a considerable amount of body armor– including a ballistic facemask. Additionally, Stover altered his vehicle to conceal its make and change its original appearance, authorities say.
“I stand here very proud of the officers that were involved, the way they conducted themselves, the way they confronted an armed gunman who had spent considerable time preparing for an armed confrontation,” said Chief Jewkes.
A large bag was located near Stover’s vehicle, which police say was emitting an odor of an accelerant. That prompted the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team’s response from Fort Wainwright, though no explosives were found and the area was cleared. As a precaution, several area businesses, including Chief Andrew Isaac Medical Center and Regal Cinemas, were either placed on lockdown or evacuated.
The officers involved were not hurt and have each been placed on administrative leave.
State police are running the investigation, Chief Jewkes said.
Chief Jewkes also says FPD had very little, if any, contact with Stover in the past.
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