ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A village police officer in Buckland was shot by a man bringing banned alcohol to the village by boat, Alaska State Troopers said Friday.
VPO Lorin B. Geary was flown to Anchorage for treatment after the shooting early Friday morning. Geary, 48, was listed in fair condition at Alaska Native Medical Center, hospital spokesman Josh Niva said.
Gary A. Ballot, 40, of Buckland was arrested on charges of attempted murder and alcohol importation.
The sale and importation of alcohol are banned in Buckland, an Inupiat Eskimo community of 450 people in northwest Alaska.
According to troopers, Geary had received a report that Ballot was traveling to Buckland with alcohol in the boat. Geary went to the shore of the Buckland River and met Ballot, who got out of the boat and shot the VPO.
The shooting occurred at the edge of the community where people park their boats, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
Locals took the gun away from Ballot and took him into custody. Ballot was injured while in custody before troopers arrived from Kotzebue 75 miles to the northwest. He was flown to Kotzebue for treatment.
Peters said the injury was not believed to be life-threatening, but that she did not know the type of injury.
It was unclear Friday if Ballot had an attorney. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation was sending representatives to Buckland from Anchorage.
The shooting is the third attack — one of them deadly — on a rural police officer in Alaska this year.
In March, Manokotak Village Public Safety Officer Thomas Madole was shot and killed. His body was found outside the home of Leroy B. Dick, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of the 54-year-old VPSO. He is scheduled to go on trial in January.
A few days after the Manokotak shooting, a 29-year-old man allegedly fought with a VPSO in Thorne Bay as the officer tried to put handcuffs on the man. Troopers said the officer received a cut to his hand during the struggle with Tucker Thompson.
Thompson has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, according to online court records.
It was unclear if Geary was carrying a weapon, though VPOs and VPSOs generally are not armed.
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