An Anchor Point man wanted in connection to the Monday afternoon shooting of an Alaska State Trooper was still at large as of 9 p.m., Tim Despain, public information officer for the state troopers, said Monday night.
Troopers said Monday afternoon that they were seeking 60-year-old Bret Herrick in connection with the shooting, which took place in Anchor Point around 1 p.m.
The trooper was said to be in “fair condition” after being airlifted to Anchorage from a local hospital, according to a 5 p.m. trooper dispatch.
The dispatch called Herrick “armed and dangerous” and asked people who see Herrick or who have information about his location not to approach him and to call 911 immediately. Troopers asked drivers not to pick up hitchhikers in the Anchor Point area.
Herrick is 5 feet, 10 inches, tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He is bald and has brown eyes, and was last seen wearing work boots, dark pants, a knee-length leather trench coat, a black T-shirt and a black do-rag on his head, troopers reported.
People were asked Monday afternoon to avoid the Anchor Point area near Mile 156.5 of the Sterling Highway in response to the shooting and an active investigation by the troopers, according to an alert issued by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management on Monday afternoon.
Acting Emergency Manager for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Brenda Ahlberg confirmed Monday at around 2:15 p.m. that dispatch asked OEM to issue an emergency alert regarding the situation “out of precaution.”
“Life safety situation in the area of Mile 156.5 Sterling Highway. Stay away from area,” the alert said. “Emergency response to firearm shooting in area and active State Trooper investigation. Prolonged traffic delay is expected. Adhere to detour directions. Please avoid the area and remain in your homes until the situation is resolved.”
In a 10 p.m. update, borough emergency management said the Sterling Highway near North Fork Road was open with one-lane access, but the update told motorists to expect traffic delays and stay clear of response vehicles.
Nearby Chapman School was placed in “stay put” status on Monday afternoon, but children and staff were safe, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Communications Director Pegge Erkeneff said. Parents were advised not to go to the school, which was said to be working with law enforcement. Erkeneff said Monday evening that all children had been released to parents and gone home.
KPBSD shared in a 7 p.m. update that the school would start with a two-hour delay Tuesday, noting that if the suspect had not been apprehended by 6 a.m. Tuesday a full school closure would be announced.
Herrick has a criminal history dating back to at least 2004 on the Kenai Peninsula. Most were minor charges including fourth-degree assault and unlawful conduct.
In August 2012, prosecutors charged Herrick with kidnapping, armed assault, robbery and burglary after troopers said he forced a man into his truck, drove him to a Homer bank and made him withdraw money from an ATM. Connected to that case, troopers arrested Herrick in December 2012. That encounter led to a scuffle in which Herrick assaulted troopers, according to troopers.
When the kidnapping and other charges went to trial in May of 2013, prosecutors couldn’t locate a key witness, the alleged victim, because the fishing boat he crewed was caught in an ice flow in the Bering Sea. In a plea agreement, Herrick pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and two charges of fourth-degree assault. The more serious charges were dismissed.
In another case, Homer Police arrested Herrick in September 2015 on a charge of second-degree terroristic threatening. In charging documents, police said witnesses described Herrick as dressing like a pirate and acting strangely at the Homer Ferry Terminal. He also carried a foot-long knife in sheath partially visible underneath a leather jacket, according to police. Police said Herrick told one woman, “We’re all going to die.” Police said Herrick acted agitated, belligerent and violent. Prosecutors later dismissed that charge. Herrick’s defense attorney said at the time that the case came down to the First Amendment giving wide latitude for freedom of speech.
“Bret may have been saying things that might have been odd. He’s an odd character. Homer’s full of odd characters,” the defense lawyer said then.
In more recent charges, Herrick was charged in October 2020 with reckless endangerment. Lately he has been wanted on a $500 warrant for violating conditions of release.