Anchorage police officer and former Utahn Dan Seely volunteered for the call that killed him.

It wasn't a glamorous call - just a warrant to be served on a man named Paul Ely Jr. for failing to appear for a court hearing."It was just a $1,000 warrant," said Anchorage police Capt. Shirley Warner. "Nothing you'd expect a shootout over."

But there was a shootout Saturday that left four people dead, one seriously wounded and an entire city mourning.

Seely was on patrol near Chugiak, a suburb of Anchorage, when dispatchers asked if an officer could serve a warrant on Birchwood Loop, just north of Chugiak High School.

Seely said he was close.

When he arrived at the house, someone yelled that the man he was looking for was running out the back door. The front door was locked, Warner said, so Seely ran around to the back of the house. He saw a man inside and yelled to him.

"He said he wanted to talk to him," Warner said. But the man ran. Seely radioed that his suspect was running down a hall and he was going to go after him.

That was the last radio transmission dispatchers heard from Seely. Neighbors heard the shot. Investigators believe Ely ran into a back bedroom, and when Seely approached the door, he shot him in the face at close range.

After shooting Seely, he ran from the house where his estranged wife was staying and forced his way into the house next door.

Christina Ely was holding on to her daughter, Jessica, 5, when Ely shot the little girl in the head. The bullet passed through the kindergartner's head and hit her mother in the stomach, Warner said.

The Elys' 4-year-old son, Corey, was sitting on the neighbor's lap when Ely put a gun to his head and killed him. Ely then put the gun to his own head and shot and killed himself.

Other officers arrived to hear the final shots in the tragedy. Seely was taken to a local hospital where he died about an hour after being shot. Ely and his children were all pronounced dead at the scene. Christina Ely, 28, was taken to Providence Medical Center where she is still in serious condition.

Seely was killed two days before he and his wife, Deborah Walters Seely, would have celebrated their first wedding anniversary. She worked as a dispatcher/call taker and was on duty when her husband was killed. She is expecting a child this winter.

The Elys had a history of domestic problems, and Paul Ely had been convicted of beating his wife. She had a protective order barring her husband from coming near her. The warrant charged Ely with violating that court order.

As Seely's fellow officers struggle to deal with his death, they said they take comfort in the way the 40-year-old lived his life.

"His focus was on helping people," said Bruce Inks, a probation and parole officer and reserve officer who graduated from the academy with Seely in 1985. "He wasn't just a cop to go out there and carry a badge and be a heavy. He got more of a thrill out of helping people then putting people in jail."

No one is surprised Seely died on a call he volunteered to take.

Take, for instance, the snowstorm a few weeks ago that pounded Anchorage and surrounding areas. He stood for hours in the snowfall in the middle of a downtown street directing traffic.

Inks said reserve officers are allowed to pick the assignments they want. Seely, he said, volunteered to work narcotics.

"He spent a lot of time working on Fourth Avenue," Inks said, referring to a street lined with bars and prone to crime, drunks and drugs.

In 1990, Seely was kicked in the knee by a man wearing steel-toed boots. He underwent knee surgery and spent nearly a year recovering. Warner said Seely could have easily taken a medical retirement because the injury was so severe and so painful.

He told Inks, "My knee will still hurt, even if I quit. I want to be a cop."

Seely set a standard and a pace for other officers, he said.

"He gave more than an honest day's work for an honest dollar," Inks said. "He did it all because he was dedicated, because he wanted to help people."

Then there was that Seely smile.

"When you saw it, you just knew everything was going to be OK," Inks said. "It just seemed to ease the tension."

Warner said the department is offering counseling and support to those struggling with Seely's murder. His death makes the risks officers live with every day very real.

"It's cause for reflection," Warner said. "It makes you think, gee, I need to be a little more careful. But then, he was careful. He was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing. He was there to help this family - with no hesitation whatsoever."

Adds Inks, "We all know the risks. Nothing can prepare you for that (what happened to Seely)."

As Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles put it during Seely's memorial Tuesday night, "This is the land of the free because it's the home of the brave."

Besides, asks Warner, "What would happen if the (police) said they didn't want to take the risks anymore?"

Seely was born in Fruita, Colo. He was reared in Green River, Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young University.

Seely's body was put on a plane Tuesday night headed for Utah. Services will be held in Green River Thursday at noon. He will be buried in the Price City Cemetery. Utah police officers from around the state will participate in the services.