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Dillingham cop fired at early Sunday morning

Dillingham Police hope the public will lead them to whoever fired at an officer during a brief car chase that ended near the landfill on Waskey Road early Sunday morning. Police describe the suspect as a thin male who was wearing white bunny boots, and the truck as an older model pickup, possibly a Dodge, with tinted windows. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more details.

Officer Leighton Cox, a transfer from Hawaii who has been with DPD for a little less than a year, was attempting to pull over a truck near the intersection of Waskey and Wood River Roads at a little past 5:00 a.m. Sunday.

“He was going to conduct a traffic stop on Waskey Road,” said Sgt. Rodney Etheridge, “and he turned on his overhead lights, and the vehicle that he was trying to stop, didn’t stop. [The truck] continued driving down Waskey Road, picked up speed, in excess of the speed limit. Eventually, it slowed down in front of the Landfill Road. Slowed down to kind of a rolling stop, two people jumped out, and one of them fired two shots at his vehicle.”

Those two shots hit the hood of the police cruiser, right in line with the driver’s side. Neither the vehicle nor Officer Cox was harmed by what appeared to be small caliber rounds fired from about 60 yards away.

The two individuals headed off through the woods to the north of Waskey, and the truck continued onto Lake Road and turned north. There was another on-duty officer who responded as backup. Police couldn’t find the two individuals on foot or the truck.

By Monday afternoon, Etheridge said DPD did not have much information yet, but he anticipates they will track down their suspects.

“I feel like the public isn’t going to stand for this to happen. This isn’t the type of the thing that we want to accept in our community,” he said. “Also, we know that there were other people involved in this incident that weren’t the shooter. If those people are listening … I’ll make sure that if you haven’t come forward by the time we find the shooter, you’re going to be in the same situation that he’s in. So, it’d be in their best interest to come forward.”

It’s been quite some time since a DPD officer came under fire though several shootings at or towards VPSOs in the region have been reported more recently (including the murder of unarmed VPSO Tom Madole in Manokotak three years ago). Dillingham police wear bulletproof vests, but the vehicles offer no added protection. Police are at a disadvantage, said Sgt. Etheridge, when they are having to react in these unpredictable situations.

“We’re all very vigilant and try to stay ready for that to happen, but you just don’t expect that people in our community are going to try to do that to us. It angers me that this happened, and we’re going to find out who this was,” he said.

DPD is working with some information about the incident it has not released publicly, but Sgt. Etheridge said it will still probably take the public’s help to track the suspect(s).

Again the shooter is suspect is described as a thin male about six feet tall, who was wearing white bunny boots, snow pants, and a dark colored jacket. The truck was described as a dark color older model full size, possibly a Dodge, with tinted windows. You can reach the Dillingham Police Dept. at 842-5354.

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