North Pole officer shoots ATV rider

49-year-old dies after trying to ram policeman

Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2005

FAIRBANKS - Alaska State Troopers are investigating a fatal shooting involving a North Pole police officer over the weekend.

Police said the officer shot Hank Thomas Walker when he tried to ram the officer with his all terrain vehicle early Sunday morning.

Walker, 49, was pronounced dead at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital around 4 a.m. Sunday.

The officer, whose name was not released, saw the man speeding and driving erratically on the four-wheeler along the Old Richardson Highway at about 3:25 a.m. Sunday, according to police.

The officer caught up with the ATV and got out of his patrol car, but the man drove toward him, struck him with the vehicle and sped away, police said.

The officer, a six-year veteran of the force, sustained what Sgt. Jon Miller described as a "minor injury" but was able to continue following the ATV, which pulled into a residential driveway.

The officer again got out of his car to confront the ATV driver and the driver again aimed the four-wheeler at the officer, police said. That's when the officer shot Walker.

Police declined to say how many shots were fired.

Tim France, who lives across the street from where the shooting took place, said he heard one shot after being awakened by the barking of his wife's six Shih Tzus sometime around 3:30 a.m.

"There was a commotion, the dogs got us up and then there was one shot," said France.

Walker did not live at the home where he was killed, Miller said.

"We have no idea why he pulled into that residence," he said.

It's standard procedure for troopers to investigate shootings involving a law enforcement officer, trooper spokes- man Greg Wilkinson said.

The name of the officer involved will be released Wednesday, Miller said. Department policy requires any officer involved in a shooting to be placed on administrative leave for three days.

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