At 6:43 pm on Thursday evening, a Palmer patrol officer observed a motorcycle speeding near the Alaska State Fairgrounds and decided to perform a traffic stop. But, instead of pulling over the motorcycle driver, later identified as 27-year-old Zaqua Radle-Maxson of Wasilla, opted to speed off.
The chase continued into Wasilla and Wasilla police were asked for assistance.
According to the report, “During the course of the pursuit, officers noticed a holstered handgun on the motorcycle operator’s belt.” The chase continued to Church Street near Spruce Avenue, where Maxson stopped “and attempted to retrieve the handgun from his waist.” The AST dispatch said “Due to the driver’s actions Palmer Police Officers and Wasilla Police Officers fired their service weapons.” Maxson suffered fatal gunshot wounds and succumbed at the scene.
Further investigation would find that Maxson’s pistol was instead, a bb gun designed to look like a real firearm devoid of any markings and color to distinguish it from a real weapon.
Alaska State Troopers were contacted and the Wasilla and Palmer police departments requested that they conduct an investigation into the fatal incident. When complete, the results of that investigation will be turned over to the Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions for review.
The identities of the officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave and their identities will be divulged after 72-hours as per each agency’s policy.
On Sunday, the identities of the three officers were released to the public.
- Wasilla Police Officer Cody Rice, a 2-year veteran of the Wasilla Police Department
- Palmer Police Officer Richard Clark, a four-year veteran of the Palmer Police Department
- Palmer Police Reserve Officer James Harvey, a five-year veteran of the Palmer Police Department.