Justin T. Wollam
During the early morning hours of July 9, 2001, police officers spotted a vehicle driving erratically in south Anchorage. According to witnesses, the vehicle drove into the lanes of oncoming traffic at a high rate of speed several times before heading north on the Glenn Highway. With a concern for public safety, officers did not pursue the driver but followed at a distance in an attempt to bring him to a stop. Officer Wollam was headed toward Anchorage from Eagle River area to alert motorists of the dangerous driver and to assist other officers in stopping the vehicle. Unbeknownst to Wollam, the suspect vehicle had again crossed the median into oncoming traffic. At approximately 3:56 a.m., the suspect vehicle collided with Officer Wollam’s police cruiser on the “S curves” in front of the National Guard Armory. Officer Wollam was killed instantly. The 19-year-old driver of the other vehicle and two of his teenage female passengers also died in the crashOfficer Justin Todd Wollam was twenty-eight years old at the time of his death. He had served with the Texas police departments of Angleton and Danbury for two years just before joining the Anchorage Police Department in July 1999. He is survived by his wife, Kristy, and their four-year-old daughter, Kristin.
Dan R. Seely
During the morning hours of October 26, 1996, Officer Dan Seely was dispatched to a Chugiak home to serve a warrant on a man for domestic violence. The suspect, who was wearing a hidden shoulder holster, shot Officer Seely in the face and then fled to a neighboring house where his estranged wife and two children had taken refuge. There, the suspect shot and killed his five-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. The man also seriously wounded his estranged wife before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Officer Seely died an hour later at Providence Hospital. Officer Seely’s wife, Deborah, who was expecting the couple’s first child, was an on-duty police dispatcher at the time of the shootings. Officer Dan Seely was forty years old at the time of his death. He served with the Anchorage Police Department for ten years. He is survived by his wife and son who was born seven months after his death.
Louie G. Mizelle
Officer Louie G. Mizelle responded to a call of shots being fired from a Mountain View apartment complex during the early evening hours of June 5, 1989. When he arrived, the lone gunman opened fire on Officer Mizelle, hitting him five times in the leg, abdomen, and chest. Throughout the chilly night, dozens of officers surrounded the complex waiting for the suspect to surrender or for orders to take him forcibly. At about 5 a.m., the APD’s Crisis Intervention Response Team (C.I.R.T.) flooded the second floor of the building with tear gas and rushed inside. Less than a minute later, the gunman was brought out. Officer Mizelle underwent five hours of surgery before dying of his wounds on June 6, 1989. Officer Louie Mizelle was thirty-five years old at the time of his death. He had served with the Anchorage Police Department for five and a half years. He is survived by his two children. The suspect was convicted of homicide and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
Harry B. Hanson
On July 17, 1986, K-9 Officer Harry B. Hanson responded to a call involving a suspect who had just shot at another officer and stolen her patrol car. After crashing the stolen police car into a cinderblock wall, the suspect fled on foot. Officer Hanson responded to the area; leaving his K-9, Baron, in his patrol car, Hanson assisted two K-9 officers and another police dog who was already tracking the suspect. As they approached the suspect’s hiding place under a large spruce tree, the suspect shot at police, striking Officer Hanson in the neck. Fellow officers returned fire, striking the suspect several times; the suspect underwent surgery and survived his wounds. Officer Hanson died at the hospital an hour later. Officer Harry Hanson was 41 years old at the time of his death. He served with the Anchorage Police Department for eight years, six of which were in the Canine Unit. He is survived by his five children. The suspect was convicted of attempted homicide of the first officer and homicide for the killing of Officer Hanson; he was sentenced to 119 years in prison.
Harry E. Kier
Officer Harry Kier died in a car accident on October 28, 1980, while responding to a fire at a gas station. Because of the danger of the fuel exploding, Officer Kier was dispatched “Code 3.” Officer Kier died when his patrol car went out of control on the icy streets of the Glenn Highway. The car slid sideways, left the roadway and hit a light pole where it came to rest and caught fire. Witnesses attempted to pull the officer from the burning car but were forced back by flames. The Anchorage Fire Department, also traveling fast to the gas station fire, was not far behind the burning patrol car, but was unable to put out the fire in time to save the life of the officer. Officer Kier was thirty years old at the time of his death. He served with the Anchorage Police Department for three years. He is survived by his wife and one child.
Jonathon P. Flora
Officer Johnathan Flora was shot to death while investigating a burglary at a drug addiction treatment center in downtown Anchorage on September 8, 1975. Responding to a possible burglary, Officer Flora noticed a broken window at the treatment center and flashed his light inside to get a better look. Officer Flora pushed the window open, holstered his pistol and started to enter when he was hit in the head by a single gunshot from inside. The suspect, who was in the custody of the State Correctional Center, had walked away only days earlier from the Alaska Psychiatric Institute where he was being treated for an abscessed tooth. He was charged with the murder of Officer Flora and three robberies which he had committed just after his escape. Officer Johnathan Flora was thirty-two years old at the time of his death. He had served with the Anchorage Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife, parents, and seven siblings. The suspect was convicted of homicide and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
WILLIAM G PFALMER, JR.
Officer William Pfalmer succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained 17 years earlier after stopping of a stolen vehicle containing three juveniles. As Officer Pfalmer approached the stolen vehicle on June 9, 1953, the driver sped away. As the vehicle drove away Officer Pfalmer shot out its transmission, disabling it. When he approached the vehicle a second time one of the suspects opened fire on him, striking him in the left arm and right shoulder, shattering spine. The wound to the spine paralyzed Officer Pfalmer from the chest down. Over the next 17 years, he underwent numerous surgeries as his health continued to deteriorate. He finally succumbed to the wound while undergoing corrective surgery. Officer Pfalmer was a US Coast Guard veteran and had served with the Anchorage Police Department for 3 years. He had previously served with the Alaska Territorial Police. He was survived by his wife, three sons, mother, and sister.
Benjamin F. Strong
Officer Benjamin Strong was killed on January 4, 1968, while volunteering his time on a stake-out assignment. Anchorage had been experiencing several armed robberies in the days following Christmas. Officer Strong was off duty, but for his third consecutive night, he was volunteering his evening for a stake-out assignment at a Government Hill liquor store. At about 11 p.m., two masked men entered the liquor store and, at gunpoint, forced the clerk into a back room; one man tied the clerk up while the other rifled the cash box. Officer Strong, meanwhile, remained hidden in the nearby storage room. Only when the clerk was tied and locked in the back room, and the two armed robbers were together, did Strong make his presence known. During the confrontation, Officer Strong’s shotgun was kicked from his hands, leaving him to battle the pair of robbers with his .45. A gun battle ensued; both robbers were hit with non-lethal shots, Officer Strong was killed when a single bullet entered his upper chest about three inches below his neck. Officer Benjamin Strong was twenty-nine at the time of his death. He served with the Anchorage Police Department for one year. Officer Strong is survived by his two-year-old daughter and his wife who was pregnant with their second child. Both suspects were convicted of homicide and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
Harry C. Kavanaugh
Chief Kavanaugh, an "outsider" agreed to take the Chief of Police position at a salary of $250 a month. He had been recruited from Cordova by one of the councilmen due to a desire for more adequate policing. Kavanaugh was shot by Knik Nicolai as he was trying to arrest Nicolai for drunkenness.
John J. Sturgus
Chief Sturgus began as Chief of Police on January 1, 1921, at a salary of $200 a month. He was a one-man police department until his death just six weeks later. He was shot and killed with his own gun on February 20, 1921. The City Council voted to offer a $1,000 reward, The Mayor pledged an additional $250 and all other city council members and the clerk pledged $100 each, bringing the total reward to $1,950. Sturgus's murderer was never apprehended. This was to be APD's first unsolved homicide.