PALMER — Traffic in the vicinity of the Parks Highway and Trunk Road was diverted around the scene of an early morning shooting incident there that wounded an Alaska State Trooper and left an Anchorage man dead.
Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said while a Trooper was talking to two passengers in a minivan contacted during a traffic stop around 4:10 a.m., Oct. 13 near the Trunk Road roundabout, the driver — identified as Nicholas Leo Frazier, 22 of Anchorage — got out, produced a handgun and fired multiple rounds at the trooper.
“The Trooper was talking to another person when the shooter made his move,” Peters said.
During the exchange of gunfire the Trooper sustained non-life threatening injuries to his face and head, but was able to return fire a Frazier who in the meantime fled in the AST patrol vehicle.
The vehicle was located later about a mile from the scene on Fireweed Road with Frazier deceased inside.
Peters said although troopers returned fire, they don’t know whether the suspect died as a result, or if Frazier died from other causes, such as a possible self-inflicted gunshot. She said no cause of death would be released until the State Medical Examiner’s autopsy, which is expected to be conducted Monday.
“What transpired is still under investigation,” Peters said.
The traffic stop and subsequent shootout took place on the east side of the Parks Highway, near the Trunk Road roundabout and the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center Peters said.
When Frazier fled, he drove the patrol vehicle about a mile to the west side of the Parks Highway on Fireweed Road, she said.
So north- and south-bound exits from the Parks Highway were closed Saturday morning while Troopers investigated. Troopers also were redirecting traffic to the hospital through the Trunk roundabout. The northbound Trunk onramp off the Glenn Highway also is closed.
The Trooper’s name will not be released for three days, as per department policy when a trooper fires on a suspect, she said.
She said the Alaska Bureau of Investigation is investigating.
“Interviews with the two occupants of the vehicle, inspection of their van and the Alaska State Trooper patrol vehicle are still under way to attempt to determine the exact sequence of the events, how many shots were fired and to assist in determining the cause of death of Frazier,” according to a trooper statement.
Suspects firing weapons at law enforcement is something Troopers takes very seriously, she said. It’s a tight-knit community in Alaska and when word went out that a Trooper had been wounded and a suspect deceased, law enforcement from the Wasilla, Palmer and Anchorage police departments responded to the scene, Peters said.
And while the support of the other departments is noticed and appreciated, Peters said the response also was about public safety.
“If someone is going to turn a gun on a police office, they might turn it on the public,” she said. “They’re not just showing up for their own, they are showing up for Alaska.”
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