Anchorage Police Department officials say the man shot and killed by officers in a downtown supermarket parking lot Friday night had a semi-automatic handgun. The man was identified as Detlef Wulf, a 27 year old with a long criminal record.
Friday night a security guard called police to report a possibly drunk man slumped over the wheel of a sports utility vehicle, at the Carr’s grocery store in Fairview. According to Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew, the officers approached the vehicle, rapped on the window of the SUV and saw that the man inside had a semi-automatic handgun. Mew describes what happened.
“Things went very fast from there. They hollered at the person behind the wheel, who we now know to be Mr. Wulf to put his hands up. Instead of doing that, he produced the gun, cracked the car door open, raised the gun, leaned over his shoulder and pointed at the closest officer. And, at that point, both officers returned fire.”
The victim was identified as Detlef Wulf, age 27. Mew says officers boxed the car in and illuminated the area before approaching, because they believed the man could be intoxicated and they wanted to prevent him from driving away. The shooting happened just before backup arrived. Five shots were fired by two officers. An autopsy is underway. Wulf had a long record with the courts stretching back to 2000 with many cases involving alcohol and weapons. Chief Mew says law enforcement leaders are very concerned about the increasing number of officer involved shootings in Anchorage.
“In 2012, we had five officer involved shootings. That’s the most we’ve ever had, as far back as we could count. Two of those were fatal. Three of them were not fatal. That same year, State Troopers had eight, which I think is very high for them too. We’re both concerned and trying to determine how to attribute that. Is society getting more violent? Are our officers acting quicker? You know, I don’t know the answers to those questions yet.”
So far in 2013, the APD has had three officer involved shootings, two of them fatal. In January, officers attended a ‘use-of-force’ training. The state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals is investigating Friday’s shooting. Officers must be in fear of immanent, serious physical injury or death to themselves or a third person in order to legally use deadly force.
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