By Rick Schleyer, Mallory Peebles and Chris Klint
Channel 2 News
11:07 AM AKST, January 19, 2013
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson officials say Anchorage police have arrested a person of interest and located the pickup truck used in Saturday morning's gate-crashing incident, which was driven onto the base by a white male and subsequently fired on by base security forces.
According to JBER spokesperson Air Force Maj. Joseph Coslett, the arrest occurred in Eagle River at 7:15 p.m. Saturday on charges unrelated to the gate-crashing incident. The person's name and further details were being withheld as of 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
Coslett also confirmed that Anchorage police found the truck which was driven onto the base at about 11:50 p.m., after receiving a tip. Scanner reports of the blue 1994 GMC Sierra being seen on the 1300 block of Garden Street in Airport Heights, near Alaska Regional Hospital, were posted on Facebook at about 11:20 p.m.
A Channel 2 photographer who visited Garden Street at roughly 11:45 p.m. saw APD officers inspecting a vehicle which matched both the description and license plate number -- 3605DB -- provided earlier Saturday by JBER and police. The pickup had one flat tire, as well as several bullet holes through the windshield, rear window and driver's-side door.
According to an initial JBER statement on the gate-crashing incident, it began at about midnight Saturday when the truck drove through the Boniface Gate, provoking a chase on base that ranged between the Boniface and Government Hill gates.
Coslett said Saturday that during the 10-minute chase, the truck's driver bypassed unspecified "multiple deterrents" and drove directly at security forces, including Department of Defense civilians, soldiers and airmen. The base doesn't currently hire private contractors to provide security.
"It was an eclectic mix of folks," Coslett said.
Several 9mm pistol rounds were fired at the truck in response, in an unsuccessful attempt to disable the vehicle before it escaped through the Boniface Gate. Coslett says there are no reports of anybody on base being injured during the incident.
APD spokesperson Dani Myren says police received an agency-assist call from JBER at 12:20 a.m., but wasn't immediately sure whether police ever saw the truck after it left the base.
"Ultimately the vehicle and suspect got out of the installation," Myren said. "It was a very quick incident."
The Boniface Gate was closed for about seven hours due to damage from the incident, but is now open. Enhanced security was in effect at the gate Saturday afternoon, with vehicles lining up as security forces individually checked the identification of incoming vehicles' occupants.
"There was damage to the gate, but we were able to get it open and operational again fairly quickly," Coslett said.
Air Force Col. Brian Duffy, the commander of both JBER and the 673d Air Base Wing, had expressed base officials' commitment to finding a suspect Saturday.
"We take the security and safety of our personnel and this installation very seriously," Duffy said in the base's original statement. "We will continue to work with local law enforcement to bring this matter to resolution."
Coslett asks anyone with information on the incident to call JBER's law-enforcement desk at 552-3421 or APD at 786-8900.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for more information.
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