Jury clears Anchorage officer in nonfatal shooting

Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011

ANCHORAGE — A jury decided an Anchorage police officer was justified in the nonfatal shooting of a teen he saw holding a gun outside a restaurant.

The decision Tuesday in a civil lawsuit was a relief to officer Shaun Henry, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“It’s not a vindication thing, I’m just glad that it turned out the way it did,” Henry said. “No ill feelings one way or the other. Just glad we can all move on.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Elvis Tuata, now 19. In June 2009, he was waiting for a friend outside a restaurant and holding a pellet gun when Henry saw him as a threat and shot him in an arm. Henry thought the .177 caliber pellet gun Tuata held was a high-powered rifle pointed at another person.

The lawsuit, which also named the city, said Tuata had more than $16,000 in medical bills and endured physical and emotional trauma, plus loss of employment.

Tuata’s attorney, Anthony Banker, said Henry should have shouted at Tuata or identified the rifle as a pellet gun.

Tuata used an expletive to describe the verdict before leaving the courtroom.

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