Trooper involved in fatal shooting identified

Alaska State Troopers have identified the officer who shot and killed Sterling resident Jon Ployhar during a traffic stop on Saturday.

Trooper John King’s name was withheld for 72 hours after the shooting per Alaska State Troopers policy. King, a nearly two-year veteran of the agency, is stationed with the detachment of troopers who cover the Kenai Peninsula, according to a trooper dispatch.

The department will look at “any and all evidence available” during the investigation of the shooting, Alaska State Troopers Public Information Officer Megan Peters said in an email.

“We treat these investigations just like any other potential criminal investigation,” she said. “In all of our investigations we are trying to determine what happened and if there is any criminality involved and by whom.”

Once the investigation closes, Peters said the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals will receive the report to decide if the “shooting is a justified use of force.”

“After (the office) makes its determination, the incident is scrutinized further by the Department of Public Safety to determine if any policies or procedures were violated and what can be learned from the incident,” she said. “It is quite a lengthy process.”

King tried to make a traffic stop around mile 82 of the Sterling Highway on Saturday night and ended up pursuing the driver, 49-year-old Sterling resident Ployhar, down Moose River Drive. When Ployhar did stop, troopers say a physical confrontation ended with King pulling his gun and shooting Ployhar, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sterling Brotherhood member Wayne “Froggy” Debnam said Ployhar was one of the Brotherhood members who chased a wanted burglar, Brandon Bernier, into the river and held him in Sterling until troopers got there in August.

Ployhar had a record of charges dating back to 1990 including a mix of minor offenses and misdemeanors, according to Courtview records.

Reach Megan Pacer at

More in News

An entrance to the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex as seen in November 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna moves forward with sports complex renovations

The city council last year approved $1.5 million for maintenance and renovations at the sports complex.

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, has his picture taken by a fellow senator after being unanimously elected on the first day of the 32nd Alaska Legislature on Tuesday, in Juneau. (Peter Segall/The Juneau Empire via AP, Pool)
Senate organizes Republican majority; Micciche elected president

Micciche’s election as Senate president was held by voice vote, with no one dissenting.

COVID-19. (Image via CDC)
4 new peninsula COVID cases

130 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Alaska on Tuesday

Goose Creek Correctional Center in Wasilla. (Courtesy photo / Alaska Department of Corrections)
Goose Creek inmate dies

It’s the first inmate death of 2021

4th Avenue Park is seen on Tuesday, Jan. 19 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai to formally own park it’s been maintaining for decades

Formal ownership of the park has changed hands several times

Alaska State Troopers
Man arrested after car, foot chase in Nikiski

An Anchorage man was arrested in Nikiski on Sunday following a high-speed… Continue reading

A sign outside of RD’s Barber Shop indicating that they are closed can be seen here in Kenai, Alaska on March 25, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Changes proposed to pending ‘shop local’ program in Kenai

Changes to the program have been proposed by city council members, city administration and the public

Dunleavy appoints new attorney general

Sniffen held the position in an acting capacity following the resignation of Kevin Clarkson.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai to consider extension of disaster declaration

If approved, the declaration would be extended to Feb. 28

Most Read