Pilot Station Man Dead Following Exchange of Fire with SERT

A Pilot Station man is dead after an exchange of fire with Southcentral SERT in the woods around Pilot Station on Thursday night, Alaska State Troopers report.

27-year-old Dwight Heckman of Pilot Station was located by SERT at 7:30 pm on Thursday evening after multiple encounters and the gunfire exchange took place. 50 minutes later SERT personnel found him deceased.

The incident had its beginnings the day before, when Heckman, according to the trooper report, hit and strangled a female in the community, then drug her into the street and “fired multiple rounds from a handgun in close proximity to her.” He then fled the scene on a snowmachine. The shots-fired incident was reported to AST in St Marys at 4:30 pm.

Due to inclement weather, troopers were unable to respond to Pilot Station and finally made it into the village on Thursday. They made first contact with Heckman at his residence at 12:30 pm. At that time, Heckman produced a handgun and pointed the firearm at the trooper as the trooper took cover. Heckman then fled into the woods behind his house.

Troopers actively searched for Heckman and located him a second time at 2:30 pm. Heckman opened fire and shot multiple times then fled back into the woods. The trooper secured the area and called in Southcentral SERT.

Additional troopers arrived in Pilot Station at 5 pm on Thursday and assisted the trooper and VPOs in holding the perimeter. SERT began arriving at 6:40 pm and they made contact with Heckman less than an hour later when the fatal exchange of gunfire occurred.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is due in the community this morning to thoroughly conduct their investigation.

As per department policy, “the Trooper(s) involved will be placed on a standard 72-hour administrative leave. At the completion of ABI’s investigation, the case will be turned over to Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals for review,” AST said on the trooper dispatch. 

Heckman’s next of kin was notified of the incident.