Anchorage, AK – An Anchorage police officer is recovering after his badge deflected a bullet that had been fired at his chest.
Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll released photos of the officer’s warped, mangled shield on Wednesday afternoon.
The incident began at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, when two officers with the Anchorage Police Department’s (APD) Impaired Driving Enforcement Unit stopped a red Ford Taurus for a traffic violation near the intersection of Reeve Boulevard and 5th Avenue, the department said in an earlier release.
The vehicle was occupied by a male driver and four male passengers.
“The preliminary investigation found that during the traffic stop, a male passenger in the back seat produced a gun and fired multiple shots at officers,” the APD said.
One of the officers was hit in the upper body.
The second officer returned fire, fatally shooting the gunman.
The shooter was later identified as a 16-year-old male, but his name has not been released.
“During the incident, one of our officers was shot in the upper body,” Chief Doll said on Wednesday afternoon. “The bullet struck the officer’s badge, and then deflected into his body armor.”
The injured officer is “recovering quickly,” the chief said. “He and his family prefer that we not release his name, so that they can continue to work through this traumatic event.”
“While each investigation is different, in this case we felt it was important to share with everyone how close we came to having an officer seriously injured or killed in the line of duty,” Chief Doll continued. “These photos are a stark reminder of the dangers our officers sometimes face while protecting our city. All of us at APD are thankful that he suffered only minor injuries.”
The uninjured officer who fatally shot the suspect has been placed on administrative leave, as per protocol.
None of the occupants inside the suspect vehicle are facing charges, APD spokesperson MJ Thim told the Anchorage Daily News.
No one else was injured during the gun battle, Chief Doll said.
The Office of Special Prosecutions will determine whether the officer’s use of force was justified, and the APD’s Internal Affairs unit will subsequently determine whether the officer complied with policy during the encounter, according to the department.