Alaska State Troopers Identify Trooper in Wasilla Shooting

January 24, 2012|By Chris Klint | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska State Troopers have identified the trooper involved in a Wasilla shooting early Saturday morning that remains under investigation.

AST spokesperson Megan Peters says Trooper David Eastwood-Kolezar of the Palmer post fired one round at 56-year-old Russell W. Tanner, after he and his wife had both reported a home-invasion robbery at their Wolverine Avenue residence.

When troopers arrived at the scene, shortly after 12:30 a.m., they heard gunfire within the residence, then saw Tanner leaping from a second-story balcony carrying a firearm. Eastwood-Kolezar fired on Tanner, who was treated and released at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center for a gunshot wound to his elbow. Officials remain unsure whether the trooper’s round actually struck Tanner or he was shot inside the home.

After being treated, Tanner was arrested and held at the Mat-Su Pre-Trial Facility on one count of fourth-degree misconduct involving weapons, for allegedly possessing a firearm while under the influence.

Tanner’s wife 53-year-old left the home shortly afterward. She was treated and released for an unidentified medical condition.

“Although a search of the residence did locate several firearms and evidence that several shots had been fired within the home the ensuing investigation did not find any evidence of a home invasion or that any intruders had been in the home,” troopers wrote in an initial dispatch on the incident.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigations is examining the shooting. The Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals will then review the ABI’s investigation to determine whether Eastwood-Kolezar acted within the law, before a Department of Public Safety review of whether his actions were appropriate under the circumstances and he used every reasonable option to avoid the use of deadly force.

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