Carl Tyson ran into the woods in St. Marys last August with a trooper chasing him, weapon drawn, though Tyson was carrying only an ulu that he didn’t take out until the brief pursuit ended, according to a civil lawsuit filed this month in Bethel Superior Court.
Tyson, 28, was shot and killed by troopers Sgt. Brent Hatch after Hatch responded to a village police officer’s call for assistance on a domestic violence report, according to reports at the time. Troopers said Hatch fired on Tyson after he advanced on Hatch with a knife he refused to drop. Hatch at the time was a 10-year veteran of the troopers based in Southwest Alaska.
The lawsuit says Hatch encountered Tyson arguing with another man and chased him, weapon drawn, into trees before Tyson stopped and removed the ulu from his hoodie pocket and held it out. It calls the ulu -- a traditional scraping tool with a curved blade -- a household implement, not a fighting weapon. It also charges that Hatch failed to get medical care for Tyson even though the village clinic was a two-minute drive away.
The suit was brought on behalf of Tyson by his grandfather Peter Tyson, who is also his adopted father. It was filed in early February against both Hatch and the Alaska Department of Public Safety. Peter Tyson is represented by Bethel attorney Myron Angstman.
The suit seeks damages in excess of $100,000, to be determined by a jury, as well as costs, interest and attorney fees.
A troopers spokeswoman said the agency isn’t going to comment on the lawsuit.
St. Marys is a village of 566 about 450 miles west of Anchorage.