Alaska State Troopers Press Release of Monday, March 12, 2018

Any charges reported in these press releases are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

A Detachment

  • AK18015499

    Location: Mendenhall Ice Field
    Type: Search and Rescue

    Dispatch Text:

    UPDATE: On 3/13/2018, weather cleared and search assets were able to be deployed. The chartered Coastal helicopter, with Juneau Mountain Rescue members on board, was able to reach the north face of the Mendenhall Towers. An intact anchor rope was seen at the top of an ice shoot on the 4th Tower. Two climbing ropes were also seen in a crevasse midway down the 4th Tower. The ropes match the description of the gear carried by Johnson and Leclerc. Due to the circumstances, Johnson and Leclerc are presumed deceased. Due to continuing significant avalanche danger and safety hazards, recovery efforts are not feasible at this time. Next of kin for Johnson and Leclerc have been notified. Missing person files have been entered into the missing persons clearing house for both Johnson and Leclerc.

    The Alaska State Troopers would like to thank our search and rescue partners along with businesses and member of the community that donated food and supplies to support the volunteer search personnel.

    UPDATE: On 03/09/2018, a brief weather window allowed the launch of a USCG helicopter with Juneau Mountain Rescue personnel on board. However, they were forced to turn back a short time later due to deteriorating conditions and were not able to reach the search area. On 03/10/2018 the Army National Guard Helicopter was not able to launch from Juneau due to poor weather conditions.  On 03/11/2018 the National Guard Helicopter was able to launch from Juneau during a weather window and was able to do an aerial search of the South face of the Mendenhall Towers with Juneau Mountain Rescue personnel on board before having to return due to weather conditions.  No additional clues were located. 

    On 3/12/2018, if a weather window presents itself, the Army National Guard helicopter will attempt to reach the North Side of the Mendenhall Towers. 

    Original Release:

    On 3/7/18, at about 1006 hours, Juneau based Alaska State Troopers were notified that 34 year old George "Ryan" Johnson of Juneau and Marc-Andre Leclerc, 25 of British Columbia, had not returned from climbing the Mendenhall Towers, which are located in the Mendenhall Ice Field in Juneau.  Both are reported to be experienced climbers and were dropped off near the towers on 3/4/18.  The pair were last in communication with family/friends on 3/5/18 after climbing to the top of the Towers. They climbers were supposed to hike/ski back to Juneau via the West Mendenhall Glacier Trail with a return time of no later than Wednesday evening (3/7/18).  There was a significant snow storm in the Juneau area on 3/7/18 and neither individual is reportedly equipped with an SAT phone or emergency beacon. A chartered Coastal Helicopter with Juneau Mountain Rescue personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard are assisting with the search. Some of the men's gear has been located. Search efforts are ongoing.  The next of kin for both men have been appraised of the situation.

    Posted on 3/8/2018 2:26:42 PM by DPS\mapeters . Edited on 3/12/2018 8:52:31 AM by DPS\mapeters

  • AK18016608

    Location: Hydaburg
    Type: Death Investigation

    Dispatch Text:

    On March 12, 2018 at about 12:45 AM, the Alaska State Troopers on Prince of Wales responded to Hydaburg for a report of a deceased person.  The investigation revealed 66 year old Hydaburg resident Doreen Washington passed away of natural causes.  She was released to the family and next of kin was on scene.

    Posted on 3/12/2018 8:32:31 AM by DPS\lnparrish

B Detachment

  • AK18016453

    Location: Talkeetna
    Type: Hit and Run

    Dispatch Text:

    On 03/10/2018 at 2339 hours, AST Dispatch received a report of a hit and run near the intersection of D Street and 1st Street in Talkeetna.  Troopers responded to investigate.  Investigation reveals an unknown vehicle collided with a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche and left the scene without notifying police or leaving the responsible driver’s information.  The investigation is ongoing.  


    Posted on 3/12/2018 9:32:31 AM by DPS\jscovey

C Detachment

  • AK18016527

    Location: McGrath
    Type: Assault 3, Assault 4, VCOR

    Dispatch Text:

    On 3/11/2018 at about 1853 hours, the Aniak based Alaska State Troopers, arrested Darren Jesse Nikolai (37 yoa of McGrath) for strangling and punching a female on the head while intoxicated.  Darren was transported to Bethel and remanded at the YKCC for the above charges. 

    Posted on 3/12/2018 8:34:19 AM by DPS\amwiles

  • AK18015624

    Location: Pilot Station
    Type: Assault/Trooper involved shooting

    Dispatch Text:


    The Troopers involved that fired their service weapons during the incident on 3/8/2018 have been identified 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

    ABI investigators were able to respond to Pilot Station to conduct the on scene investigation on 3/9/2018. On 3/10/2018, Heckman’s remains were transported to the SME’s office in Anchorage for autopsy. Investigation is ongoing.

    Correction: On 3/8/18 at approximately 1230 hours, a Trooper attempted to contact Heckman at his residence. Heckman was not located at his residence and was later seen on a ATV in the community. 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. At approximately 1430 hours Heckman was again spotted by the Trooper. Heckman fired multiple rounds and then ran further into the woods.

    Update: The name(s) of the trooper(s) involved in the officer involved shooting will be released at the completion of a 72-hour administrative leave. Under most circumstances involving an Officer Involved Shooting, the Trooper(s) involved are almost immediately able go on the required administrative leave, however this incident occurred in a rural Alaska community in which troopers from outside of their patrol area had to be deployed. The Trooper(s) have not been able to return from the incident and administrative leave has not yet commenced. Once the Trooper(s) is able to return to their regularly assigned areas, the mandatory leave will begin which is expected to occur shortly.

    UPDATE: On 3/8/2018 at approximately 1700 hours, additional Troopers were able to reach Pilot Station and assisted the one Trooper and the local VPOs with holding the perimeter around the suspect who was still in the woods. Troopers with Southcentral SERT began arriving in Pilot Station at approximately 1840 hours. At approximately 1930 hours, 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. No other injuries have been reported. ABI will respond on 3/9/2018, weather permitting, to investigate the totality of the incident. The deceased has been identified as Dwight Heckman, 27 of Pilot Station. His next of kin have been notified. 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. 

    Original Release: On 3/7/18, at about 1631 hours, St. Mary’s Troopers were notified of multiple shots being fired in the community of Pilot Station.  Information received indicated that a man had assaulted an adult female by striking her and strangling her at a local residence.  Following the initial assault on the female, the suspect dragged the victim out into the street where he fired multiple rounds from a handgun in close proximity to her before fleeing the area on a snowmachine.  It was further reported that the female was safe with family. AST was not able to immediately respond to the community due to weather. On 3/8/18 at approximately 1230 hours, a Trooper attempted to contact the suspect at his residence.  The suspect pulled out a handgun and pointed it in the direction of the Trooper as the Trooper took cover.  The suspect then fled in to the woods behind his residence.  At about 1430 hours the suspect was again spotted in Pilot Station by the Trooper. The suspect fired multiple rounds and then fled back into the woods. The Trooper has secured the area and additional resources, to include Southcentral SERT, are now in the process of responding to Pilot Station. This incident is ongoing and updates will be provided when more information is available.

    Posted on 3/8/2018 3:59:17 PM by DPS\mapeters . Edited on 3/12/2018 3:51:59 PM by DPS\mapeters

D Detachment

  • AK18016436

    Location: Fairbanks
    Type: VCOR

    Dispatch Text:

    On 03/10/18, at approximately 2205 hours, Alaska State Troopers responded to a residence in Fairbanks to investigate a 911 call.  While on scene Alaska State Troopers contacted Erik Setterberg (age 29 of Fairbanks).  Investigation revealed Setterberg was under Conditions of Release to remain five hundred feet from the residence.  Setterberg was arrested for VCOR and remanded to FCC pending arraignment.


    Posted on 3/12/2018 9:19:27 PM by DPS\wdderner

E Detachment

  • AK18016853

    Location: Sterling
    Type: Warrant Arrest

    Dispatch Text:

    On March 11th, 2018 at approximately 1923 hours, the Alaska State Troopers responded to a residence on Stassi Lane, Sterling for a civil issue. During the civil issue, Jacob S. Hunt, age 31 of Nikiski, was contacted. Investigation revealed Hunt had six active warrants for his arrest. Hunt was arrested for the warrants. Hunt was  transported to the Wildwood Pretrial Facility where he was held on $3000.00 bail.

    Posted on 3/12/2018 12:33:40 AM by DPS\asgault

  • AK18016584

    Location: Kenai
    Type: DUI/REDDI

    Dispatch Text:

    On March 11, 2018 at 7:26 P.M.  The Alaska State Troopers received a REDDI report advising a female driver was driving erratically on the Kenai Spur Hwy. traveling northbound from Kenai. The REDDI vehicle was followed to a residence in Kenai where AST contacted the driver. On scene investigation resulted in arresting the driver, 65 year old Kenai resident Cledia Larrison, for Driving Under the Influence.  Cledia was transported to Wildwood Correctional Complex where she was remanded.

    Posted on 3/12/2018 5:18:03 AM by DPS\viperonto

Headquarters ...No news reported.

AK Wildlife Troopers

  • AK18015893

    Location: North Pole
    Type: Failure to have Required Documents in Possession (Sport Fish Guide)

    Dispatch Text:

    On March 8, 2018, Alaska Wildlife Troopers based out of Fairbanks contacted 34 year old Fairbanks resident Micah H. Whitaker at Chena Lakes Recreation Area while sport fish guiding. Micah was issued a citation for not having a log book as required. Bail is set at $210.

    Posted on 3/12/2018 9:18:23 AM by DPS\lareid

AK Bureau of Investigation ...No news reported.

AK Bureau of Highway Patrol ...No news reported.

AK Bureau of Judicial Services ...No news reported.

AK Div of Fire and Life Safety ...No news reported.