Two Alaska State Troopers were injured during a prolonged standoff with an armed man in Kotzebue who ultimately took his own life Sunday. The end of the incident came when officers approached the vehicle of Arvid Nelson Junior, 50 of Kotzebue, hours after the initial shooting, and found he had taken his own life.
The Kotzebue Police Department responded to a call early Sunday morning of Nelson brandishing a weapon at a civilian after his truck had run into a guardrail on Ted Stevens Way, a road just east of town. Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen says KPD called on the troopers for help.
Ipsen says both of the injured officers returned fire. One trooper was struck in the lower part of his body. He was medevaced to Anchorage, where Ipsen says he remains in stable condition. It’s unclear how the other trooper was injured – if he was grazed by a bullet or hit by shrapnel – but he began bleeding from the head and was taken to the Kotzebue clinic and shortly released.
The standoff continued when Nelson barricaded himself in his vehicle around noon. The area was cordoned off and the city’s airport was closed to non-emergency traffic. Troopers called a crisis negotiator and five members of the Southcentral Special Emergency Reaction Team, or SERT, were called in from Anchorage. Ipsen says there was contact with Nelson around midday.
Ipsen says the SERT team arrived on the scene shortly after 2 p.m.. When the crisis negotiator received no response from Nelson, Troopers attempted nonlethal interventions, to no avail.
The standoff ended around 6 p.m. Sunday, when troopers and officers approached Nelson’s truck and found Nelson dead in the vehicle from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ipsen says troopers with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation are in
Kotzebue handling the case. Due to both officers returning fire, Ipsen says the names of the troopers injured during the initial shooting are being withheld for 72 hours in keeping with department policy.
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