Air Force officials say a civilian man arrested Saturday after a gate-crashing incident on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was the driver who slammed a pickup truck through the Boniface Gate, drawing pistol fire from security forces before leaving through the same gate.
Linda Card, with the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations in Maryland, tells Channel 2 that the man -- whose name hasn’t been released -- was uninjured after leading security forces on a 10-minute chase shortly after midnight Saturday from the Boniface Gate to the Government Hill gate and back. He has not been charged in connection with the chase.
“It was a guy who busted through the (Boniface) gate,” Card said. “Originally we thought it might have been an airman, but it turned out to be a civilian.”
JBER officials had previously said a white male suspect drove a blue 1994 GMC Sierra directly at force members, prompting them to fire on the vehicle with 9mm pistols in an attempt to disable it. No one on base was injured, but it was initially unclear whether the driver had been hit.
Despite being fired on, the driver was still able to depart through the Boniface Gate, which was damaged and subsequently closed for about seven hours. The truck, with several bullet holes in it and a flat tire, was found by Anchorage police at about 11:50 p.m. Saturday on the 1300 block of Garden Street near Alaska Regional Hospital.
Card says that because the arrested man isn’t a service member, the Air Force is transferring jurisdiction over the case to Anchorage U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler’s office and local police.
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Kevin Feldis, chief of the criminal division in Loeffler’s office, the man may face either or both federal and state charges in the incident.
“No decisions have been made about potential charges for the suspect,” Feldis said.
APD spokesperson Anita Shell says the man, who was arrested by Anchorage police in Eagle River at about 7:15 p.m. Saturday on a probation violation unrelated to the gate-crashing incident, is more likely to face federal charges.
“I would think (the gate-crashing) would fall to the U.S. Attorney’s office for charging, because there would have been no crime committed in our jurisdiction except for the probation violation,” Shell said.
Feldis says more information on the case may be available later Tuesday from U.S. attorneys.
Contact Chris Klint