FPD, Troopers found justified in deadly Christmas Eve shooting in Fairbanks

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - State prosecutors have determined that no officers or Troopers will face charges in an officer-involved shooting in Fairbanks on Christmas Eve year.

Fairbanks Police officers and Alaska State Troopers shot at and killed Cody Eyre in Fairbanks on December 24, 2017. The Office of Special Prosecution says its investigation shows that no charges against law enforcement officers are warranted.

[RELATED: Troopers identify officers who shot, killed armed Fairbanks suspect]

OSP talked with the officers involved, and reviewed official reports, audio transmissions from the officers, body camera footage, interviews and transcripts, 911 calls, radio traffic, photos, the Medical Examiner’s report and the ballistics report on the shooting.

The incident began when a man in Wasilla called 911 and told dispatchers that Eyre, one of his Facebook friends, was on Facebook Live threatening to commit suicide. The caller told dispatchers that Eyre had what appeared to be a .22 revolver with one bullet, and that he said he was going to kill himself, and then ended the live feed.

Less than a half-hour later, Eyre’s mother called 911 saying her son had been drinking, was upset, and had a gun in a holster. She was in a vehicle following her son down Farmer’s Loop Road in Fairbanks.

By the time Troopers and FPD officers were able to respond, Eyre was on or near the Steese Highway. Troopers’ audio and Fairbanks Police body cameras recorded the entire interaction, the Office of Special Prosecutions wrote. Throughout the encounter, Eyre was acting erratically and shouting in an agitated manner.

“When officers contacted Cody (Eyre), he was on or near a public roadway, brandishing a gun, and unresponsive to officers ‘commands,” the report reads. One Trooper told dispatchers that Eyre had a gun and had gestured it toward the Trooper “at least twice.”

Investigators found that officers commanded Eyre to “drop the gun” or “put the gun down” multiple times, but he instead went between pointing the gun at his own head and dropping it to his side. When officers got close to him, he told them “you better back the f--- up, right now!” and yelled that he didn’t know who a Trooper was, and once the Trooper identified himself, Eyre shouted that he didn’t care.

Eyre then turned down a side road, which led to the back of a residential neighborhood, and Troopers told investigators they were concerned it would escalate near homes. Officers and Troopers kept their distance from Eyre, and in conversation, Eyre threatened to kill himself, refused to drop his gun, and was still agitated. At one point, he told officers “I don’t want to hurt any of you,” to which one responded, “We don’t want to hurt you.”

Through the encounter, Eyre talked about what he’d been through, and how he joined the military to “try to get help,” but was discharged for having ADHD. He knelt and put the gun to his head at one point, but continued toward the residential area.

The investigators say Eyre stopped about 200 yards from the residential area and told officers not to come closer or he’d kill himself. When they refused to turn off their spotlight at his request, he turned toward them and again told officers to back away.

An audio recording captured a Trooper saying “That’s at us,” regarding Eyre’s gun. Body camera video showed the officers reacting to the gun being pointed at them. Four seconds later Eyre yelled “You guys can f---ing die right now,” just before officers began to fire their guns.

More than 40 rounds were fired in two volleys by five Fairbanks Police officers and Alaska State Troopers. Two shotgun rounds were also fired. Another Trooper at the scene did not fire his rifle, because, he told investigators, he could not feel his hands due to the extreme cold that night.

Eyre was still alive as officers approached and began first aid. One officer kicked his .22 revolver away from him. He was declared dead at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. Of the 23 gunshot wounds on his body, the medical examiner determined one shot to the back of his head was the cause of death, but it was not possible to determine which officer’s gun fired the fatal shot.

The Office of Special Prosecution found that Eyre’s final act of pointing a gun at four Troopers and two FPD officers, and yelling that they could die “right now” warranted the officers to use deadly force to protect themselves and their fellow officers.

Eyre’s family had told the media in September that they were preparing a wrongful death lawsuit against state authorities, but it’s unclear whether it was ever filed.

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