A man has died after being shot by an Alaska State Trooper after a failed traffic stop in Wasilla.
Early Sunday morning, a trooper tried to pull over a Subaru in Wasilla and began a car chase when the driver, 36-year-old Justin Smith of Wasilla, failed to stop. After about 45 minutes, Smith hit a spike strip deployed by troopers around milepost 45.5 of the Parks Highway and stopped, according to an online dispatch.
Smith then pulled over, got out of the car and attempted to run, and a police dog was sent out, according to the dispatch.
“The driver turned and fired a handgun,” the dispatch states. “The (police dog) was shot.”
Troopers returned fire and hit Smith, who was then taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center but later died due to his injuries. Smith had two active arrest warrants for his arrest — one for assault in the second degree and probation violation, according to the dispatch.
No troopers were hurt, but the police dog died due to its injuries, according to the dispatch. Per Alaska Department of Public Safety policy, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation is taking over the case responsibility, and the identity of the trooper will not be released until after the standard 72-hour administrative leave, according to the dispatch.
“Following the shooting, the Parks Highway was closed for investigative purposes and has since reopened,” the dispatch states.