Evidence markers are placed around the scene of a shooting in Centennial Park campground in Anchorage, Alaska, Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

Evidence markers are placed around the scene of a shooting in Centennial Park campground in Anchorage, Alaska, Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

Officer, man wounded in shootout at homeless camp

The shooting occurred the same day another bear attracted to unsecured food was killed in the campground

  • By MARK THIESSEN Associated Press
  • Thursday, July 21, 2022 11:17pm
  • NewsState News

By Mark Thiessen

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — An Anchorage police officer and a man were wounded late Wednesday in a gun battle at a city-owned campground that has been turned into an outdoor shelter for homeless people.

The shooting occurred the same day another bear attracted to unsecured food was killed in the campground.

Two officers were conducting a security check at Centennial Campground in east Anchorage when they came across a vehicle that matched the description of one that had eluded police on Tuesday, updated information released Thursday by the Anchorage Police Department said.

Police said they saw a man, later identified as Iese Gali Jr., 32, near the vehicle. Officers tried to talk to him, but police said in a statement that he ignored them and walked to another vehicle.

Officers ordered him to stop, but he got in the vehicle, police said. The two officers went to remove him from that vehicle, when a struggle started. Police said Gali pulled a weapon and fired at the officers, injuring one.

Police said both officers returned fire, and called for backup.

Both wounded men were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive, police said. Police have said that the officer sustained serious injuries. The second officer was uninjured.

Police say a warrant was served on Gali for attempted murder, assault and misconduct involving a weapon. He will be jailed once he is released from the hospital.

The state’s Office of Special Prosecutions will investigate to determine if the officers’ use of force was justified. Following that, the Anchorage Police Department’s Internal Affairs division will review the shooting to see if there was any violation of policy.

The officers have been placed on four days of administrative leave, per department policy, and their names will be released 72 hours after the shooting.

Earlier Wednesday, Alaska Wildlife Troopers killed a black bear that authorities believed was going into tents looking for food, the fifth bear killed at the campground this month. Officers from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game killed four black bears in the campground on July 5.

The municipality of Anchorage closed its mass shelter at Sullivan Arena at the end of June and set up the campground for people who are homeless.

Unsecured food at the campground situated at the edge of the Chugach State Park in what officials call prime bear habitat has enticed bears.

The city has provided bear-proof food storage containers and enhanced security, but food issues remain a problem in the camp where about 200 people are living.

“It’s a continual large-scale attractant. It’s not just the occasional tent that has it, it seems to be a lot of the tents that have it,” Dave Battle, Anchorage area biologist for the Department of Fish and Game, told the Anchorage Daily News.

“Unless we can keep attractants out of tents, almost any bear that happens by there is going to end up in the camp and in tents,” he said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation.”

More in News

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
District unions call for ‘walk-in’ school funding protest

The unions have issued invitations to city councils, the borough assembly, the Board of Education and others

House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

The Kenai Courthouse as seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Clam Gulch resident convicted of 60 counts for sexual abuse of a minor

The conviction came at the end of a three-week trial at the Kenai Courthouse

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meets in Seward, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (screenshot)
Borough awards contract for replacement of Seward High School track

The project is part of a bond package that funds major deferred maintenance projects at 10 borough schools

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen, right, participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee talks purpose of potential change, possible calendar

The change could help curb costs on things like substitutes, according to district estimates

A studded tire is attached to a very cool car in the parking lot of the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Studded tire removal deadline extended

A 15-day extension was issued via emergency order for communities above the 60 degrees latitude line

A sign for Peninsula Community Health Services stands outside their facility in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
PCHS to pursue Nikiski expansion, moves to meet other community needs

PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community

Most Read