Hatchet-wielding man shot by Anchorage police Thursday morning

Anchorage police say an officer shot and critically wounded a hatchet-wielding man early Thursday morning during an investigation of car break-ins on the city’s south side.

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The suspect, Howard Wayne Watson Junior, a 32-year-old Anchorage resident, was in critical condition at a city hospital, as of this afternoon.

Police say Watson’s clothing fit the description witnesses gave when reporting several cars broken into near China Berry Circle.

Acting Deputy Police Chief Kenneth McCoy said officers were searching the area when one of them spotted Watson running through backyards and hopping fences.

McCoy said the officer approached Watson near Golden Dawn Circle.

“The officer issued him commands, he failed to comply, at which point the officer pulled his tazer and tazed him,” McCoy said. “What we understand is the suspect was able to pull free of that and then pull out a hatchet.”

McCoy says the officer shot Watson multiple times and called for paramedics.

Per APD policy, the officer’s name will not be released for 72 hours as the investigation continues.

Police have not yet announced any charges against Watson.

Correction: This story has been updated to state that Watson was approached at Golden Dawn Circle, not Golden Morning.