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James Robert Richards, 28
Fairbanks, Alaska
August 30, 2016

Agencies: Fairbanks Police Department Alaska

Last updated: over 1 year ago

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A police officer shot and killed a man in Fairbanks Tuesday after the man threatened a woman with a gun, grabbed a hostage off the street and ignored commands to drop his weapon, according to a police spokesperson.

An officer fired on and killed 28-year-old James Robert Richards in the parking lot of a local business, said Fairbanks Police Department public information officer Yumi McCulloch. She said officers had been pursuing Richards after a 911 call.

Dispatchers got the call around 1:40 p.m. from a man at the Alaska Motel on South Cushman Street. A Tuesday evening release from the police department said a man had assaulted occupants of a motel room and pointed a gun at a woman.

"A struggle ensued and some shots were fired," McCulloch said, adding no one was injured by the gunfire.

Richards left the area of the motel on foot "still armed" as officers responded to the call, according to the release. Officers arrived at Cushman and 15th Avenue, started following Richards and demanded he drop his weapon, McCulloch said.

Officers Tasered the suspect but the less-than-lethal method was ineffective, McCulloch said.

"There was somebody on the street and he grabbed them," she said.

It is unclear when the hostage escaped Richard's grasp but he was reportedly able to do so.

He was fatally shot "as a last resort," McCulloch said.