Names of Officers Involved in Sunday Shooting Incident Released

K9 "Helo," seen here during an exercise in 2013, died from gunshot injuries during a suspect pursuit. Image-AST

K9 “Helo,” seen here during an exercise in 2013, died from gunshot injuries during a suspect pursuit. Image-AST

The trooper dispatch revealed the identities of the officers involved in the shooting incident that took place early Sunday morning. In that incident, suspect, Almando Abarca, was wounded in the shoulder after a car chase and exchange of gunfire. The officers were identified as Trooper Christopher Havens and Palmer Police Department officer Antonio Aldesperger.

On Sunday morning, at 5:20 am, Officer Aldesperger attempted a traffic stop on a four-door Geo Sedan, driven by Abarca, in the Palmer city limits. The driver, with his three passengers, ignored the officer and continued south on the Glenn Highway. The officer requested assistance from Alaska State Troopers to bring the vehicle to a stop.

Abarca eluded the pursuing officers for several miles along the highway, then pulled into a long driveway near the Glenn Highway/Parks Highway interchange and drove a “couple of hundred yards down the driveway.” Once stopped, Abarca exited the vehicle and fled into the woods.As Abarca fled from the officers, he opened fire on K9 “Helo,” who had pursued Abarca into the woods. More than one of those rounds struck and critically injured K9″Helo.” 

Havens and Aldesperger returned fire, wounding Abarca in the shoulder.

While Abarca was transported to the hospital for treatment of his non-life-threatening injury, K9 “Helo” was taken to a local veterinarian, where at 9:32 am, the canine succumbed to his injuries.

K9 “Helo,” who came to Alaska from Holland, was named after crash victims Trooper Tage Toll and pilot Mel Nading, who died in the crash of Helo-1 in March of 2013.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene and conducted an on-scene investigation into the incident.

As per policy, the names of the officers involved in the incident were with-held for 72 hours.

Abarca, who was wanted on a $20,000 warrant following a petition to revoke his probation on June 30th in Anchorage Court in a 2014 Burglary case, was additionally charged with two counts of Assault III, one count of Harm a Police Dog-Kill, Serious Injury, and Failure to stop at the Direction of an Officer. He was arraigned on Monday afternoon.

He remains in custody.