A man identified as Sean M. Burke, who had a rough history with the law, was fatally shot by police early on the morning of July 2, following an encounter on a Glenn Highway exit ramp.
Burke was armed with a rifle and had approached officers at the scene, prompting one of them to open fire in self-defense. The incident occurred while the officers were responding to a shots-fired call in the area.
The confrontation unfolded at approximately 5:39 am when two mid-shift patrol officers noticed a blue SUV pulled over on the outbound Glenn Highway exit ramp leading to the South Birchwood exit.
Upon approaching the vehicle, they encountered Burke, who was standing outside the SUV with the rear hatch open, holding a rifle. The suspect then advanced towards the officers, his rifle in hand.
One of the officers discharged his firearm, striking Burke at least once in the upper body. During the course of administering first aid efforts to Burke, authorities discovered a handgun on Burke’s person. He was transported to a nearby hospital by AFD medics but was pronounced dead a short time later. None of the officers involved sustained any injuries during the incident.
The motive behind Burke’s actions and any connection to the earlier shots-fired call remain unknown. As part of the standard protocol, the state’s Office of Special Prosecutions will conduct a review of the officer’s use of force to determine its justification.
Burke, of Tok, had been in trouble many times, most recently in June of 2022 for driving under the influence and having a weapon on him while intoxicated, as well as violating conditions of his release for previous charges.
In that instance, several people had called Troopers to report a Ford Explorer had swerved and nearly caused several head-on collisions on the Tok Cutoff. When Troopers came upon the Explorer, they had found Burke slumped over the steering wheel, unconscious and unresponsive, with his foot on the brake but the vehicle still in gear. In that encounter, Troopers placed the Explorer in “park” and woke up Burke, who was placed under arrest.