Officer Cleared in Mountain View Shooting


by Russ Slaten

The Anchorage police officer who shot and killed a man in Mountain View has been cleared of all criminal charges. A state investigation said 26-year-old Officer Boaz Gionson used justifiable deadly force in the shooting that occurred earlier this month.

Officer Gionson shot and killed 26-year-old Shane Tasi while responding to a 911 call on June 9th.

Police Chief Mark Mew held a press conference today to release details of the shooting, providing the family and the public with more information.

Officer Gionson was the first on the scene in responding to three 911 calls with reports saying Tasi--suspected to be intoxicated-- was yelling at cars passing near his apartment, and for hitting a neighbor's dog.

The call before the shooting lead officers to the 700 block of North Bunn Street in Mountain View. The caller said she heard the sound of a breaking window. Officer Gionson first arrived on the scene when a different 911 caller said the noise came from inside the apartment.

Officer Gionson told Tasi to stop multiple times before firing, said Chief Mew. A surveillance video showed Tasi walking swiftly toward Officer Gionson with a broomstick handle over three-feet in length.

"The officer said he felt he could or likely would have been knocked out unconscious and he thought he would be hit in the head, and if he did that, he would not be able to control his gun, which was out, and that was part of his thought process," said Chief Mew.

Tasi was shot three times, twice in the shoulder and once in the chest, from about seven feet away, Mew said.

Homicide detectives are still awaiting results from a toxicology report from the state medical examiner's office to decisively determine whether or not alcohol or drugs were involved.

The Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals stated justifiable use of deadly force is allowed when an officer or anyone else perceives imminent death or serious physical injury.

"The event transpired in four seconds. Tasi's motion doesn't ever cease. The striking swing is in progress, so imminence seems to be satisfied."

The Anchorage Police Department is conducting it's own internal investigation to decide whether or not Officer Gionson followed the department's procedures for an incident like this.

The Tasi family attorney Phillip Weidner said the family is looking to press civil charges in terms of the inappropriate use of deadly force. Weidner stated that Tasi's wife was not allowed to see him after he was shot or after he was brought to the hospital.

"When your husband has been shot, and you want to go to him at the hospital, I think any decent human being will let you go to the hospital. If that constitutes, and I think it may well, inappropriate and unconstitutional conduct, that's actionable," said Weidner.

After the shooting occurred, Tasi's wife was brought to the police station for questioning, Weidner said.

Chief Mew said the police department held a meeting with the Polynesian community before the press conference, in hopes of keeping a line of communication between the two groups.

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