Trooper K-9’s killer gets 10-year federal sentence
A Palmer man convicted last month of fatally shooting an Alaska State Troopers K-9 unit has received a 10-year sentence on a federal gun charge related to the encounter.
Almando Abarca, 26, was sentenced in U.S. District Court Wednesday after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm during the Sept. 25, 2016 shooting of K-9 Helo. U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder’s office said Abarca had pleaded guilty to the federal charge; a state jury convicted him at trial of destruction of a police dog, attempted murder, third-degree assault and failure to stop at the direction of an officer.
The incident began when a Palmer police officer tried to pull Abarca over, leading to a 90-mph pursuit on the Glenn Highway. Helo was released to stop Abarca when he got out of his sedan near the Glenn’s interchange with the Parks Highway; Abarca shot the dog, and was apprehended after troopers shot him in the shoulder.
According to Chloe Martin, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder, U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess handed down the statutory maximum term for the felon-in-possession charge. He had harsh words for Abarca at Wednesday’s sentencing.
“Judge Burgess told Abarca that he was ‘lucky to be alive and lucky that the court was limited as to the sentence which it could impose,’” Martin wrote.
Abarca is awaiting sentencing on the state charges.
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