Nome, AK – Alaska State Troopers (AST) Court Services Officer Curtis Worland died in the line of duty on Dec. 13, 2022, after being gored by a muskox while trying to protect his dog mushing team.
The deadly attack occurred near Officer Worland’s home on the Teller Highway at approximately 12:30 p.m., KTUU reported.
The 36-year-old officer was on a paid work break when he spotted a herd of muskoxen near his dog mushing team, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Officer Worland jumped on his snowmobile and tried to haze the herd away, but ended up being attacked by one of the four-foot-tall, 900-pound animals.
The muskox charged him and gored his leg with his horn, hitting the officer’s femoral artery, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
A citizen found Officer Worland seriously wounded near his home at about 12:30 p.m. and called for help, according to KTUU.
Alaska State troopers and members of the Nome Volunteer Fire Department (NVFD) responded to the scene and Officer Worland was subsequently pronounced dead.
Investigators said he was carrying a Glock 22 .40-caliber handgun that had been fired multiple times, KTUU reported.
Because the muskox that killed Officer Worland was a danger to the public, officials tracked it down and fatally shot it, the Alaska Department of Public Safety (ADPS) confirmed on Dec. 15.
“On December 15, 2022, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Alaska Department of Fish and Game located the suspected muskox involved in the death of CSO Worland earlier this week,” ADPS Communications Director Austin McDaniel told KVUU. “Based on the actions of the muskox ADF&G and AWT determined the muskox may present a threat to the community.”
“The muskox was dispatched by an Alaska Wildlife Trooper at around 1 pm, approximately one mile away from the location of the encounter with CSO Worland,” McDaniel added. “The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will conduct a necropsy on the muskox.”
The AST is handling the investigation into Officer Worland’s death with the assistance of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Wildlife Troopers.
“Curtis proudly wore the Court Services Officer uniform and honorably served the people of Alaska for 13 years,” ADPS Commissioner James Cockrell said in a press release. “He was a proud member of the Nome community and a dedicated member of the Alaska law enforcement family.”
Officer Worland worked as a court services officer for the AST since December of 2009, the agency said.
He spent his entire career at the AST post in Nome.
Officer Worland was chosen as the Court Services Officer of the Year in 2011, according to his obituary.
He leaves behind his wife, Kamey, as well as his parents and siblings.
“I hope that Alaskans will keep Curtis’ family, friends, loved ones, and the Alaska State Troopers in your thoughts as we process this tragic loss for our state,” Commissioner Cockrell said. “He will be sorely missed by the DPS family.”
Officer Worland will be laid to rest on Jan. 7, according to his obituary.
🔹 Blessed Are The Peacemakers 🔹
Court Service Officer Curtis Matthew Worland
Alaska State Troopers, Alaska
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) January 4, 2023
We are deeply saddened to report that one of our own, Court Services Officer Curtis Worland, was tragically killed during a muskox attack near Nome earlier today. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/ANn2FVCiKF
— Alaska State Troopers (@akstatetrooper) December 14, 2022
— Rob Festenstein (@robfestenstein) January 6, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Alaska State Troopers Court Services Officer Curtis Worland, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.