America's northernmost city has been stunned by the shooting death of an assistant district attorney. In what could be Alaska's first targeted killing of a state prosecutor in memory, Brian Sullivan, 48, was shot dead at a home in Barrow Monday night, and suspect Ronald Fischer, 47, is in custody, KTUU reports. According to court records, Fischer already faced pending charges of kidnapping, felony threats of death or injury, and assault in a case from September and was charged with one count of violating conditions of release on Dec. 1. Police have not released details on a motive or on what led to the shooting.
Sullivan, an Iraq combat veteran and the father of three daughters, served as a Democratic state lawmaker in Washington before moving to Alaska, where he became a district Republican Party chairman. An attorney in Barrow tells Alaska Dispatch News that Sullivan "was intelligent and he was thoughtful … and he was empathic." The attorney says he has seen many prosecutors pass through Barrow, but Sullivan was unusual in that he stuck around and was dedicated to the remote Arctic community, which has a population of around 4,300. A resident tells the Arctic Sounder that Sullivan will be "greatly missed," and that he "enjoyed participating in the local feasts and was known for generously sharing his whale with elders and those who did not receive any."