A village public safety officer killed in the Bristol Bay village of Manokotak Tuesday was running away from a man who allegedly shot him with a rifle, according to court documents in the case.
Leroy B. Dick Jr., 42, was arraigned Wednesday on one count of first-degree murder in Dillingham, in connection with the death of 54-year-old VPSO Thomas Madole.
According to an affidavit filed by AST Sgt. Michael Henry, Madole called troopers in Dillingham, about 25 miles northeast of Manokotak, shortly before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to say he was responding to a home where Dick was reportedly suicidal and had assaulted his stepfather, Daniel Bevilla. A report of the shooting followed less than an hour later.
“On (Tuesday) at approximately (4:15 p.m.), Dillingham AST received a report from the Manokotak Health Aide, Melissa Paul, that shots had been fired and they thought VPSO Madole had been shot,” Henry wrote.
Three troopers responded to Dick’s residence from Dillingham, speaking with Dick by telephone and convincing him to come out unarmed. Dick had said Madole’s body was “by the tree” outside the home; troopers found him with wounds to his head, as well as his chest, abdomen and thigh.
“The Troopers detained Leroy, and then located VPSO Madole lying on the ground, near Dick’s residence,” Henry wrote. “VPSO Madole had a serious injury to his head, from an apparent gunshot wound, and was obviously deceased.”
In an interview at the scene, Dick told a trooper he had shot Madole with a .223-caliber rifle, which he cleaned and stored in a gun locker inside the home.
The affidavit says a search of the home found a gun locker, containing a Ruger Mini-14 .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle and other weapons. Troopers also found about half a dozen shell casings at the door of the home, as well as one near Madole’s body, which appeared to match .223-caliber rounds but haven’t yet been positively identified.
“Based on the initial scene investigation…the bullet trajectory appeared to originate from the direction of Leroy’s residence front door towards Madole,” Henry wrote.
Dick’s mother, Olga Dick, said she was at her home when Madole arrived and said that her son had slapped Bevilla in the face, and that he was going to contact him.
“Olga stated approximately 5-10 minutes after VPSO Madole left her residence, she heard gun shots and believed VPSO Madole had been shot so she called for help on the VHF radio and fled her residence,” Henry wrote.
In an interview with Dick shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday at the Dillingham Police Department, troopers say he denied being intoxicated and didn’t appear to be so, before discussing the events of the shooting in greater detail. He said his mother had told him someone was coming over that afternoon, which prompted him to arm himself.
“Leroy stated he got his gun out and loaded it with more than one round of ammunition, but wasn’t sure how many rounds,” Henry wrote. “Leroy said he loaded his gun because he thought the police were coming over to his residence.”
Troopers say Dick told them that when Madole arrived, he repeatedly knocked on the front door and asked to speak with him. Dick said he didn’t want to talk but Madole persisted, and when Dick answered the door he’d chambered a round in his rifle. When he stepped onto his porch, Madole was about 20 paces away.
“Leroy said he saw VPSO Madole look at him, and VPSO Madole ran, and then Leroy shot VPSO Madole,” Henry wrote. “Leroy said he didn’t know how many times he fired his rifle. Leroy said he was angry, and he knew what he did was wrong.”
The Bristol Bay Native Association, which had employed Madole as a VPSO since 2011, says his wife lives in Missouri but was headed to Alaska Wednesday.
Madole’s body arrived in Anchorage Wednesday morning. His remains were taken to the state medical examiner’s office on Tudor Road for an autopsy, in a white van which received a full escort from law-enforcement vehicles.
Channel 2’s Rebecca Palsha and Mike Nederbrock contributed information to this story.
Contact Chris Klint