Troopers Reveal Names of Officers in Pilot Station Trooper Involved Shooting

Following the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and the mandatory 72-hour waiting period on the release of names of officers involved in a shooting, Alaska State Troopers have made corrections to the initial report released by them on last Thursday and have also revealed the identities of those officers involved in the Pilot Station incident.

The names of the four  officers involved in the shooting of 27-year-old Dwight Heckman on Thursday were revealed as: 

  • Trooper Daron Cooper, a 10 year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers currently assigned to B Detachment Palmer Patrol
  • Trooper Charles Withers, a 5 year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers currently assigned to B Detachment Palmer Patrol
  • Investigator Shayne Calt, a 14 year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers currently assigned to the Alaska Bureau of Investigation
  • Investigator Curtis Vik, a 16 year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers currently assigned to the Alaska Bureau of Investigation

It was reported by troopers in the initial trooper dispatch on Thursday that troopers located Heckman at his residence and Heckman pointed a firearm at the trooper before fleeing into the woods. The ABI investigation revealed that Heckman was not at his residence when troopers initially went there to contact him, and rather, was later located while on his ATV in the community. Troopers now reveal that “When the Trooper attempted to stop Heckman, Heckman got off his ATV, produced a handgun, put the gun against his own head and ran toward the woods. The Trooper drew his sidearm and took cover behind the ATV as the suspect fled into the woods.”

It was during the second contact with Heckman at 2:30 pm, where he fired off multiple rounds then fled further into the woods that Southcentral SERT was called in to assist.

By 5 pm, additional troopers responded to the village and assisted in strengthening the perimeter around the woods, and by 6:40 pm, SERT began arriving at the scene.Less than an hour later, at 7:30 pm, troopers would again make contact with Heckman, and according to the investigation “SERT attempted to contact the suspect and there was an exchange of gunfire. The suspect was found deceased by SERT personnel at approximately 2020 Hours.”

The initial incident that led to the escalation and finally fatal confrontation with troopers and SERT was reported to troopers on Wednesday at 4:31 pm. It was then that troopers notified that Heckman had dragged a female out into the street and “fired multiple rounds from a handgun in close proximity to her before fleeing the area on a snowmachine” after he had struck and strangled her at a local residence.

Troopers also revealed that Heckman’s remains were transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy on Saturday.

ABI states that the investigation into the incident is continuing.