Wainwright man killed by North Slope police officer

Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Alaska State Troopers are investigating the shooting death of a 19-year-old Wainwright man who authorities say pointed a rifle at a North Slope Borough police officer.

Troopers identified the man Monday as Jason Tagarook.

According to their initial investigation, troopers said the officer was called to attend to a disturbance at a home in the village about 5 a.m. where Tagarook was reportedly pointing a .22-caliber rifle at family members.

The officer arrived to find Tagarook outside the home.

The 19-year-old raised the rifle and pointed it at the officer. The officer believed he was in mortal danger and fired, troopers said.

Tagarook's body was taken to the village clinic after the shooting incident. Investigators say they will not release the name of the officer involved until Tuesday.

Troopers said they were notified shortly after the shooting by the borough's acting police chief, Capt. Greg Venable. A trooper investigator from Fairbanks was in the village Monday and conferring with borough police back in Barrow.

Wainwright is an Inupiat whaling village of about 540 people on the Chukchi Sea coast, about 85 miles southwest of Barrow.

The victim's father is the village postmaster, according to Ilak School principal Bob Thompson.

Thompson described Tagarook as a talented young man, skilled in Native subsistence ways.

''Jason was well-liked by both adults and his peers,'' Thompson said of his former student. ''He was friendly and kindhearted. The village is grieving right now.''

An autopsy is planned for Tuesday. The name of the officer involved is supposed to be released then, troopers said.

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