Police shoot and kill armed man in front of lunchtime crowd

Posted: Wednesday, April 19, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Police shot and killed a man Tuesday outside a crowded fast food restaurant after he climbed on top of a patrol car and pointed a gun at them, police said.

Gregory Paul Garness, 31, of Anchorage, died in the parking lot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, said police department spokesman Ron McGee. The shooting was witnessed by dozens of people.

Police were called to the restaurant at about 12:30 p.m. when employees reported that a man was making faces and yelling obscenities at customers.

When an officer asked Garness for his identification, he said it was in his car. Garness went to his car and instead of getting his ID unzipped a gun pouch and pulled out a long-barrelled gun, McGee said.

When the officer tried to get him to put down the gun, Garness climbed into the officer's patrol car, which was left with its engine running, McGee said.

To keep Garness from driving away, officers shot out the rear tires of the patrol car. Garness then climbed on top of the car. When he pointed his gun in their direction, three officers fired at 12:46 p.m., killing him. Witnesses said Garness was shot twice in the shoulder but didn't appear fazed so officers continued to fire.

''He was yelling something. I probably watched this for approximately 15 minutes. The officers held back from shooting him but then he trained the gun, focused it more on them and it got to the point where you know they had to ... fire,'' witness Jeff Ericks told KTUU-TV in Anchorage.

McGee said it was not known how many times Garness was shot. The officers, whose names were being withheld, were placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation.

The police-involved shooting was the third in the past six weeks. A 16-year-old was shot March 5 after he fired a rifle at a patrol car. On March 31, a 52-year-old man was shot outside a pizza parlor after refusing to put down a gun.

In 1998, Garness spent three months in jail for disorderly conduct after struggling with police during an incident in which he threatened to commit suicide, McGee said.

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