Anchorage police say the armed driver of a stolen vehicle in south Anchorage woke up at the wheel Friday surrounded by officers, who had initially been called to check on his welfare.

The man -- identified Saturday by police spokesman MJ Thim as 22-year-old Poly Lomu -- tried to escape, but was ultimately arrested.

Officers were initially called just after 11 a.m. to a home on the 11600 block of Northern Raven Drive, off Lake Otis Parkway south of O’Malley Road, for a report of a man slumped over the wheel of a black pickup truck. First responders saw that Lomu had a gun in his lap and tried to wake him up.

“We got there, we found the truck was in the driveway; we ran the plates, it came back stolen,” Thim said. “We tried to give him verbal commands, no response; we used our sirens, no response.”

APD vehicles surrounded the truck, before officers broke out the window and issued more commands.

“Once the driver woke up, he tried to get away,” Thim said. “He started to ram our vehicles, but because we had him blocked in he was unable to do so.”

The confrontation ended when police deployed pepper spray inside the truck, Thim said, forcing Lomu to get out where he was finally detained.

Thim said Lomu was a convicted felon on probation, who had two outstanding warrants for his arrest including one for vehicle theft.

“This was a career criminal,” Thim said.

Lomu was held on charges including vehicle theft, reckless endangerment and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Police asked nearby Bowman Elementary School to enter stay-put mode as a precaution, Thim said. The stay-put lasted about 15 minutes and was lifted just after noon, according to Anchorage School District spokeswoman Catherine Esary.

Andy Nitchman and Jennifer Summers contributed information to this story.

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