Seven Year Sentence for Threatening Police Officers
December 4, 2015
(ANCHORAGE Alaska) – On December 4, 2015, Superior Court Judge Jack Smith sentenced 27 year-old Eric Nebreja for crimes stemming from an October 9, 2014 incident in which Nebreja threatened police officers with a gun and barricaded himself in a residence leading to a standoff with the SWAT team. This past August, Nebreja pled guilty to four felonies – two counts of assault in the third degree, one count of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree, and one count of tampering with physical evidence – as well as misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief in the fourth degree and driving with a revoked license.
On October 9, 2014, an APD officer saw Nebreja’s car at a gas station in Mountain View, and noticed that it matched the description of a vehicle that had eluded police earlier in the week. Nebreja attempted to flee from the officer on foot. The officer used his Taser on Nebreja,, but it did not incapacitate him.. Nebreja threatened to shoot the officer, got up, pulled a gun from his jacket, and pointed at the officer. Nebreja then continued running away with the gun in hand, pointing it at the original officer as well as a second officer who arrived to provide backup.
Nebreja, with the officers in pursuit, broke into an apartment on Flower Street and barricaded himself inside. APD evacuated the area and local schools were put into lockdown. An hours-long standoff ensued, until the SWAT team used tear gas to force Nebreja outside. When officers entered the apartment, they saw that Nebreja had tried to hide his gun inside a box of rice and tried to hide the magazine in the refrigerator. Nebreja had approximately 1.7 grams of heroin in his pocket when he was taken to jail.
Judge Smith ruled that five aggravating factors applied to the assault charges. He imposed the maximum sentence of five years for each assault charge, finding each to be a "worst offense." One year of these sentences will be served consecutively. Nebreja will serve additional jail time for the other charges, leading to a total sentence of seven years.
Judge Smith commended the professionalism of the officers, noting that the situation easily could have devolved into a "gun battle in the streets of Anchorage." He found that it was important to impose a sentence that would isolate Nebreja for the protection of the community and demonstrate that it is unacceptable to "put a neighborhood in terror."
Judge Smith also expressed a hope that the sentence would deter other armed criminals. "If even one person hears about this sentence and decides not to act this way, that's a good thing," he said.
Nebreja was on felony probation following an earlier assault conviction at the time of these offenses. Judge Smith terminated his probation and imposed two years of suspended jail time, which will be served consecutively to the seven year sentence imposed for the new charges.
The United State Attorney's Office convicted Nebreja of being a felon in possession of a firearm for his conduct on October 9. Nebreja has not yet been sentenced for that offense.
CONTACT: Assistant District Attorney James Klugman at (907) 269-6351 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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