Four Fairbanks, Alaska, police officers (FPD) fatally shot a suspect who reportedly brandished a gun at officers who were responding to reports of an armed robbery of a retail store, a carjacking at gunpoint, and a car chase in whiteout conditions. According to a release from Fairbanks Police Department late Tuesday night, the investigation leading up to the shooting began on Saturday night, when FPD officers received reports of a gun theft at a Fairbanks-area Walmart.
Investigators say that shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday, a suspect asked to see a .45 caliber gun, and when it was in his possession, the man fled the store with it before attempting to carjack a driver at gunpoint. The stolen gun however did not have a firing pin and had a trigger lock on it. The driver refused to give up their vehicle and the man fled the scene. Officers looked but were unable to find the suspect that night, but FPD detectives were able to identify the suspect and secure a warrant for his arrest Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday, police responded to an armed carjacking, and then a subsequent armed robbery apparently by the same suspect. After a 20 minute chase through white out conditions, the vehicle was stopped. According to FPD, the suspect then got out of the car and “came towards the officers with a handgun and pointed it at them” at which time four FPD officers opened fire. FPD says officers on the scene provided first aid until an ambulance arrived, but the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Garrett James Ebenal, died at the scene. According to the department, Ebenal was a convicted felon with an active no bail probation warrant.
FPD says a handgun recovered at the scene was the same gun stolen from Walmart on Saturday. Its trigger lock had been removed and the gun had been loaded. The four officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of three working days, and their names will be released after 72 hours according to department protocol. The AST Bureau of Investigation was called by FPD to assist with the investigation. [Source: KTUU2 News]