Police wound, arrest shooting suspect

Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An armed woman in a Midtown home was wounded by crisis team snipers Tuesday morning after she allegedly leveled a handgun at police officers.

The woman, accused of shooting a longtime friend in the hand, had been in a standoff with police for almost five hours. She was struck by rifle fire in the arm and upper chest.

The woman was identified as Susan Osborne, 43. She was in stable condition at Alaska Native Medical Center after surgery Tuesday afternoon.

Osborne was charged in an arrest warrant with first-degree assault and ordered held in lieu of $75,000 cash-only bail and a third-party custodian, according to assistant district attorney Bob Linton.

The friend, Penny Arabie, 41, was listed in fair condition at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

''I've known her for 20 years,'' she said. ''We're like sisters, like family.''

Osborne showed up Monday intoxicated, Arabie said, so she called the Community Service Patrol. Police took Osborne away, she said.

Osborne returned early Tuesday, and Arabie let her into her home. Once inside, Osborne ''just started firing'' with Arabie's own registered handgun.

''When I looked up, she was shooting in my bedroom door,'' Arabie said. ''I was shocked. I went to bar the door. That's when I got shot.''

Under police policy, the two officers who shot Osborne will not be identified for three days pending a standard internal investigation, said police spokeswoman Anita Shell.

Deputy Chief Mark Mew said ''very preliminary'' information suggested ''the shooting appears justified based on what I know right now.''

Police got a 911 call from Arabie about 5:50 a.m.

''The victim ran out the front door as the first officers arrived, with the suspect coming behind her,'' Lt. Robert Griffiths said at the scene.

Osborne then ran back into the house and shut herself inside. Police tried to communicate with a bull horn and phone calls. But Osborne, refused to come out.

By 8 a.m., police deployed the Crisis Intervention Response Team and positioned 22 officers with special weapons around the house.

About 10:45 a.m. police made plans to take a special phone to the suspect at an open window so she could talk to negotiators, according to Shell.

At one point, she was seen to be pointing a gun at her own neck, Shell said. Then ''she leveled the gun at the officers in the perimeter.''

Two crisis team officers shot her, one time each. Mew said the snipers independently and instantaneously decided to fire.

State records show 21 criminal cases have been filed against Osborne in the past 14 years, many of them involving misdemeanor violence or property destruction. At least two cases are pending.

During a hearing in 1994, a state district attorney stipulated that Osborne seek help for drug use.

Arabie said Osborne has battled mental illness and alcohol for years and has displayed some violence in the past, but nothing like what happened Tuesday.

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