Fairbanks, AK – The Fairbanks Police Department has released video footage of the fatal officer-involved shooting of a man who was armed with a revolver on Christmas Eve of 2017 (video below).
The video combined audio recordings from the Alaska state troopers at the scene with dashcam and bodycam footage from the Fairbanks police department, and was released on Wednesday, KTOO reported.
The incident began at approximately 7:03 p.m. on Dec. 24, 2017, when Magdalene Eyre called 911 to report that her distraught son, 20-year-old Cody Eyre, was out walking alone, and that she was afraid he might harm himself or wander into the forest, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Magdalene said her son was also carrying a small handgun, which was not unusual for him, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators learned that Eyre had also been drinking, and that the weapon he was carrying was a .22-caliber revolver loaded with a single bullet, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
They soon spotted him walking on a roadway in a wooded area, and announced themselves as officers, the video showed.
“I honestly don’t give a f--k!” Eyre screamed back at them.
“Officers followed and negotiated with Cody for 11 minutes while walking with him for nearly 1/2 mile,” Fairbanks Police Chief Eric Jewkes said during the press conference, KTOO reported.
The officers repeatedly asked Eyre to put down the weapon and to stop walking away. They tried to reason with him, and told him that “it’s not worth it,” as they followed behind the suicidal man, Chief Jewkes said.
According to the chief, the officers called out to Jewkes approximately 78 times during the incident.
“He’s got the gun up to his head,” one of the officers said in the video. “He’s continuing to walk away. We’re kinda following him at this point to a residential area.”
Eyre screamed at the officers to “shut the f--k up,” and repeatedly threatened to kill himself as he faced them with the weapon raised to his head.
“I’m f--king done!” he yelled. “I’ve tried to get help! I Joined the f--king military to get help!”
He walked a short distance further, then spun around on the officers again.
“Literally, if one of you draws one more time, I’m going to…you think I’m f--king joking?” Eyre said. “I just want somebody to see. I’m f--king done with life.”
Eyre assured the officers that he was going to kill himself that night.
“I’ll f--king blow my brains out, don’t worry. You guys don’t need to kill anybody,” he said. “That s--t doesn’t need to be on your conscience.”
“Risks vary in these situations and the incident ended when the risk became too great,” Chief Jewkes said, according to KTOO. “When Cody turned at them, pointed the gun at them and specifically screamed that they could die right now, the risk became too great and they were forced to act.”
Troopers Christine Joslin, James Thomas, and Elondre Johnson opened fire, as well as Officers Tyler Larimer and Richard Sweet, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Chief Assistant Attorney General Paul Miovas later determined that the officers “were legally entitled to use deadly force to protect themselves and their fellow officers,” according to the news outlet.
Eyre had 23 gunshot wounds, some of which were bullet exit wounds, so the exact number of times he was hit was unclear.
An independent pathologist sought out by Eyre’s family determined that the fatal round struck the back of Eyre’s head, the Juneau Empire reported.
His family staged a silent protest at the Fairbanks Police Department during the press conference, and previously had alleged that the video had been edited, according to KTOO.
"The family believes that due to tactical incompetence, Cody was sentenced to a preventable execution. This didn't need to end in death," his sister, Samantha Eyre-told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Eyre’s mother argued that her son was not guilty of anything.
"We saw them shoot Cody. We saw him fall, and they said 'the suspect is down.' Cody was never a suspect,” Magdalena said. “He didn't do anything wrong. He was not a criminal.”
In September, the family alleged that the officers violated Eyre’s civil rights, and announced they planned to file a wrongful death lawsuit within 30 days, KTUU reported.
You can watch footage of the officers’ encounter with Eyre in the video below: