Ester Man Shot & Killed By Members Of Special Reaction Team In Firearm Showdown

Incident Started When Man Was Armed & Barricaded, Troopers Say  Location:   Ester  Type:  SERT Operation / Officer Involved Shooting  Di...


Incident Started When Man Was Armed & Barricaded, Troopers Say 



Location: Ester 

Type: SERT Operation / Officer Involved Shooting 

Dispatch Text: 

On June 27, 2023, the Alaska State Troopers were notified that 54-year-old Ester resident Matthew Heller had threatened an adult female with a rifle at a home in Ester.

The adult female was able to escape the residence unharmed. Heller was isolated in his house, had barricaded himself, and was heavily armed because nobody was in imminent danger. 

Troopers departed the scene and sought an arrest warrant for Heller. On June 28, 2023, the Alaska State Troopers Northern Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) was activated to arrest Heller on an arrest warrant that was issued on June 28. When the SERT team arrived at Heller’s Ester home, they saw that Heller had barricaded his house with sandbags near every potential entry point into the house. Troopers negotiated with Heller to convince him to exit his house unarmed. Heller ultimately chose not to exit the house. At approximately 10:00 pm, Heller was observed armed with multiple guns and then pointed a firearm at SERT officers. Multiple law enforcement officers fired at Heller due to his actions, striking him. Despite lifesaving efforts, Heller was declared deceased at the scene. Heller’s next of kin have been notified, and his body is being sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. Once their investigation is completed, it will be independently reviewed by the Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions. The identity of the SERT officers that discharged their duty firearms will be identified in 72 hours in accordance with DPS policy. The Northern SERT Team is made up of law enforcement officers from the Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Fairbanks Police Department, Fairbanks Airport Police Department, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Police Department.

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