KOTZEBUE, ALASKA (BNO NEWS) -- A gunman opened fire at law enforcement officers in Alaska on Sunday morning, resulting in a nearly nine-hour-long standoff that resulted in the suspect's death of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Two Alaska State Troopers were injured.
The incident began just after 9 a.m. local time when someone called 911 to report a vehicle had struck a guard rail in the city of Kotzebue, which is located at the end of the Baldwin Peninsula in the Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska. The driver then allegedly pulled out a weapon and pointed it at a civilian who had driven by.
"Kotzebue troopers responded to back up the Kotzebue Police Department officer and were immediately shot at from the vehicle by the suspect," an Alaska State Troopers spokesperson said. Two troopers were struck by the suspect's gunfire, forcing the Kotzebue police officer to return fire although the suspect is not believed to have been hit.
The suspect remained barricaded in his vehicle throughout most of the day as the Southcentral Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT), local police and troopers surrounded him. The situation remained mostly unchanged until approximately 6 p.m. local time when troopers were finally able to approach the vehicle.
The suspect, who has been identified as Arvid Nelson Jr. of Kotzebue, was found deceased inside the vehicle of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was not immediately clear why Nelson opened fire at the officers, but the Anchorage Daily News reported that he was known to have domestic problems.
One of the troopers who was struck during the exchange of fire was airlifted to a hospital in Anchorage, about 545 miles (878 kilometers) southeast of Kotzebue, and remained in a serious but stable condition on Sunday afternoon. The other trooper was treated and later released from the Kotzebue clinic.
Ralph Wien Memorial Airport in Kotzebue was shut down to non-emergency traffic during the standoff because the scene was near the airport's active runway. The Anchorage Daily News reported that an Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Nome and then to Kotzebue was grounded in Nome, leaving the 22 passengers stranded. Another 42 Alaska Airlines passengers were stranded in Kotzebue.
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