UPDATE: Trooper, driver identified in fatal Sterling Highway shooting
Update on Friday, Oct. 30
The Alaska Bureau of Investigation has released their preliminary findings in the trooper-involved shooting death of 49-year-old Jon Ployhar on Oct. 24.
ABI investigators outlined events following the traffic stop Soldotna trooper John King initiated near Mile 82 of the Sterling Highway at 11:30 p.m. Ployhar was driving a 1983 Lincoln and “failed to stop continuing to drive for three to four minutes before pulling into the driveway of a private residence,” an online dispatch explained. Ployhar attempted to flee after exiting the vehicle, ignoring King’s verbal commands to stop.
After a short foot chase, King caught up to Ployhar and tried to detain him. Ployhar allegedly resisted and began physically fighting with King, a struggle that continued with both men on the ground, the dispatch said.
Ployhar reportedly hit King several times in the head and face, troopers wrote.
“King attempted to use his Taser to gain control over Ployhar but was unsuccessful as Ployhar grabbed a hold of the Taser,” according to the dispatch.
The two struggled for control of the Taser until King shot Ployhar once in the chest using his duty weapon, killing him, the dispatch said. The State Medical Examiner’s autopsy of Ployhar’s body corroborated the cause of death.
King suffered injuries on his face and mouth, according to troopers.
The ABI’s report will be filed with the Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions, who will determine if King’s use of deadly force against Ployhar was justified.
Update on Wednesday, Oct. 28
The Alaska State Trooper involved in a fatal shooting along the Sterling Highway has been identified.
Soldotna-based John King tried to pull over Jon Ployhar near Mile 82 of the highway, but the driver did not stop, troopers say. After a chase, Ployhar allegedly got into a “physical altercation” with King and the trooper fired his weapon.
King has been with AST since February 2014. He sustained minor injuries in the incident, troopers say.
Update on Monday, Oct. 26
The deceased man has been identified as 49-year-old Jon Ployhar, of Sterling, according to an online dispatch from Alaska State Troopers.
Ployhar’s next of kin has been notified. His remains were taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for autopsy.
AST spokesperson Megan Peters said no other information was available. An investigation is ongoing.
One person is dead and an Alaska State Trooper was taken to the hospital after an officer-involved shooting Saturday night on the Sterling Highway.
Just before 11:30 p.m., the trooper initiated a traffic stop near Mile 82 of the highway, but the driver failed to stop, according to an online AST dispatch.
This resulted in a short pursuit, after which the trooper was able to make contact with the driver, “who engaged the trooper in a physical altercation,” AST says.
“As a result of the altercation the trooper drew and fired his service weapon,” the dispatch states. “The driver succumbed to his injury and was pronounced deceased on scene.”
The trooper, whose name will be released within 72 hours, per department policy, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld until next of kin have been notified.
Troopers say the Alaska Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation into the incident.
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