K-9, Suspect Both Dead Following Parks Highway Chase

An Alaska State Trooper K-9 and a Wasilla man are both dead from gunshot wounds after an early Sunday morning car chase that turned deadly, troopers reported.

At 2:50 on Sunday morning, troopers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a Subaru Legacy near Bogard and Helen Streets. But, instead of pulling over, the driver, later identified as 36-year-old Justin Smith of Wasilla, elected to take troopers on a 45-minute chase along the Parks Highway.

The chase ended at mile 45.5 of the Parks Highway, after successfully deployed spike strips. Ignoring commands, Smith exited his vehicle and attempted to flee on foot.

AST K-9 Rico was deployed, at which time, Smith turned and fired a handgun at the canine. AST returned fire, striking Smith.

Smith was transported to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Following the incident, the location on the Parks Highway was closed down so that the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, who took over case responsibility, could conduct their investigation.

The investigation would find that Smith had a $20,000 active arrest warrant for Assault II as well as a no bail warrant for probation violations.

Although the AST K-9 died from injuries, no other troopers were injured in the incident.

As the investigation continues, the identity of the trooper involved will not be released until the completion of 72-hours of administrative leave.

The investigation into the incident is continuing.