Alaska man with rifle saves unarmed police after teenager attempts mass shooting on officers


Editor note: Not only did the armed citizen step up to take care of these officers, but three companies have as well.  About halfway down the article, you’ll read about how Sons of Liberty Gun Works, Primary Arms and Inforce have all partnered up to put some top-of-the-line gear into the hands of this unarmed police officers.

KWETHLUK, AK.- Fox News is reporting on a disturbing case out of Alaska that could have been much, much worse.

A village police officer in the Village of Kwethluk narrowly avoided being killed on May 16 when a 19-year-old broke into the public safety building and set off the fire alarm. When officers responded to the building, the suspect fired on the unarmed village police officers, police said.

Kwethluk’s Public Safety Administrative Chief Nicolai Joseph told Alaska Public Radio that a potential mass shooting had been avoided.

It is generally taken for granted that all police officers in the United States carry firearms, however in this particular village they do not. After this latest incident, police officers in the community are rethinking that strategy.

The suspect, Bryan Nicolai was arrested and is accused of aiming a rifle at Village Police Officer Tiger Lee, who was the first officer to respond to the building.

Luckily when he pulled the trigger the weapon didn’t go off because it wasn’t loaded. Nicolai then retrieved the other rifles and shot at the other responding village officers.

Lee retreated and took cover behind a shipping container with another officer who arrived as a backup.

Alaska state troopers said that Nicolai was wearing a ballistic vest and a helmet, and staged multiple rifles in the building, troopers said.

Nicolai was arrested after a member of the Kwethluk community, a civilian, arrived at the public safety building and talked Nicolai into surrendering.

The New York Post said that Chief Nicolai Joseph said that the 10 police officers assigned in the village do not carry weapons. Officers told APR that they don’t carry firearms due to a lack of funding.

Off. Lee, who narrowly escaped disaster told APR: “If we had access to firearms, we’d be able to handle more of these scenarios on our own. In speaking of Nicolai, Lee said, “I believe he wasn’t aware that the rifle was empty, and I could have been shot.”

Deputy Chief David Berezkin said that incidents involving guns in Kwethluck are rare.

However, one incident is more than enough, especially if the suspect had been able to get the initial shot off. It is unknown how bad it might have gotten had he taken out Off. Lee.

The resident who responded to the station, Casey Thompson, was able to get the shooter to drop the weapon, however he refused to talk to APR.

The deputy chief agreed with Lee, saying that officers in the village should be able to carry firearms in certain cases. “Sometimes that show of force helps,” Berezkin said.

Berezkin said that the training required to carry firearms in the “lower 48” takes two to three months. He also said that the city can’t afford to be sued for improper use of force.

He is not, however trying to rush to have officers in the town carry firearms, noting that incidents involving guns in the village are rare.

“We don’t deal with this every day, you know?” Berezkin said.

Berezkin also has somewhat of an “interesting” take on the deterrent effect of carrying firearms. While acknowledging that this particular situation was deescalated with a gun, he noted that sometimes people respond to a show of force in different ways, and occasionally a gun can escalate a confrontation.

“We don’t know what could happen. It all depends on the person,” Berezkin said.

As far as weapons for his police officers, Chief Joseph said that “some have a baton and pepper spray, but others are armed with only handcuffs.”

While acknowledging that Thompson showing up with a gun helped the situation, Lee believes that he could have handled the situation that occurred on Saturday.

He says he has responded to similar calls before where people have threatened the use of firearms, or harm themselves. He believes that by using verbal skills he could have talked him down.

Lee did possess a bit of naivete about the situation, believing that he could have talked an armed man down using only verbal skills.

“What are they feeling? Why are they feeling that?” Lee said. “And if there’s anything I can do to help. That I can do, or my fellow officers, or my fellow community members can do to help them feel better.”

Lee continued that he believes “he should put everyone in his community before himself and help in any way he can.”

Time To Equip The Officers

Our staff at Law Enforcement Today was speechless when we found out that there were officers ANYWHERE in America that were unarmed.

So we made some phone calls and very quickly, three companies partnered up to send some protection up north to our Blue family.

“We were encouraged to see that once again, a well-armed citizen had the backs of police officers,” said Kyle Reyes, National Spokesman for Law Enforcement Today.  “But we had to do something to help.”

The first call was to Mike Mihalski, owner of Sons of Liberty Gun Works. 

Mike couldn’t believe the story.

“This just goes to reaffirm the importance of the Second Amendment,” said Mike.  “The fact of the matter is that criminals don’t care about the law.  This is a prime example of what could happen by disarming law abiding citizens.”

Mihalski didn’t hesitate.

“We’re sending those guys four bad ass rifles,” he said.

Sons of Liberty Gun Works has absolutely exploded in the firearms market.  And although they make no bones about wanting to create the best rifles possible for civilians – they’ve developed a huge following in the law enforcement market as well.

“We’ve lost count of how many rifles we’ve made for police departments across the country.  Now we’re going to send four of them up to these guys in Alaska so they can actually protect themselves in the future.”

Teaming up with Mihalski is Primary Arms, which has offered to equip with rifles with four precision rifle optics – arguably the best in the world.

Özge S. Cumberland is the Vice President of Primary Arms. 

“The reason why we are so passionate about the products we make is because they can quite literally be the difference between life and death.  We believe that all citizens and police officers should have the absolute best equipment possible to protect themselves, their families and their communities.”

Matthew Wolfe is the Vice President of Inforce, which makes the top weapon mounted lights.  Wolfe didn’t hesitate to throw in his support as well and equip the rifles with top-of-the-line IR lights.

“We often hear people debating about whether law enforcement should be allowed to have guns and gear that every regular citizens can’t legally possess.  But this?  This is just ridiculous.  How do you have a police department that doesn’t have the gear needed to keep their officers and everyone else safe?”

Here’s what it comes down to.

A mass casualty event was barely avoided.  Some would call it an act of God or a miracle.  Others would call it dumb luck.  Still others would say you can thank the Second Amendment. 

But these three companies have stepped up to make sure that in the future, the department will have some way of protecting itself – and not relying on the people they are supposed to be protecting.

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