FAIRBANKS — A man who was killed in June after firing at Alaska police officers came prepared to kill, not die — wearing a bullet-proof mask and dressed head to toe in modified body armor, Fairbanks Police Chief Eric Jewkes said.
Jewkes on Thursday showed reporters the gear that Matthew Colton Stover was wearing in what Jewkes called “preparation for war” before officers fatally shot him.
“This is what evil looks like, right here,” Jewkes said. “It’s shocking, and that’s why we thought it’s important to really show you exactly what’s out there.”
Stover, 21, was fatally shot June 19 by officers at a snow dump near the Fairbanks Correctional Center, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .
He had no prior criminal history, and tests showed he had no drugs in his system the day of the shooting. Beyond saying Stover might have spent time in the tiny Alaska village of Northway 40 miles (65 kilometers) from the Canadian border, little is known about his past or where he was from, Jewkes said.
The officers were responding to a call about a man carrying a rifle in public when Stover exited his pickup truck and fired at police vehicles.
Stover had 400 rounds loaded into magazines and a box of 9 mm ammunition, Jewkes said.
Besides the special mask, Stover also was wearing modified pieces of ballistic body armor to cover his legs, arms, neck and chest. The mask covered his face, but not the back of his head. Officers ended up hitting him three times with bullets to the back of his head and his torso.
Jewkes said his officers prevented the possibility of a mass shooting by Stover in Fairbanks. Evidence showed that Stover planned extensively to create a road of destruction through this entire town,” Jewkes said.
“Everything we know, he was ready and appeared to be hunting members of this town to hurt or kill,” Jewkes said.
A search of Stover’s recent internet history found videos depicting armed robberies and searches about body armor, weapons systems, ammunition, bank robbery shootouts, footage criminals shooting ATM guards and sheriff’s deputies and information on to make grenades, Jewkes said.