AST Releases Names of Officers Involved in Last Wednesday’s Shooting of Ester Man

Alaska State Troopers have released the names of the two officers involved in the shooting death of  54-year-old Ester resident Matthew Heller on Wednesday as Trooper Captain Eric Spitzer and University of Alaska Fairbanks Police Officer Kelly Copeland.

The fatal case had its initial beginnings when troopers responded to a call at an Ester home on Tuesday of last week in reference to the suspect threatening a woman with a rifle.

The woman was able to escape the residence and the responding officers elected to wait for a warrant for Heller as there was no immediate danger to anyone and Heller was barricaded and heavily armed.

The following day Alaska State Troopers Northern Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) was activated and armed with an arrest warrant went to the residence. Upon arrival they found that Heller had further barricaded himself using sandbags at every potential entry point into the house.

Negotiations to have Heller to come out of the house and give himself up would ultimately fail. At 10 pm the officers would see Heller armed with multiple firearms. When he pointed his firearms at the officers, they responded by opening fire on him.

Despite life-saving efforts, Heller succumbed to his gunshot injuries and was declared deceased at the scene.

“The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is actively investigating this incident. Once their investigation is completed it will be independently reviewed by the Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions,” AST said in their dispatch.