A vehicle chase ended in gunfire Sunday morning, injuring the suspect and resulting in the death of an Alaska State Trooper K-9.


The incident began when a Palmer police officer attempted to pull over a Geo sedan around 5:20 a.m., according to an online trooper dispatch. The vehicle continued driving out of Palmer on the Glenn Highway, at which point the officer requested the assistance of troopers.


Almando Abarca

Almando Abarca


The vehicle eventually pulled into a driveway near the Glenn Highway and Parks Highway interchange. The driver, identified by troopers as Almando Abarca, got out of the vehicle and ran into the woods, according to the dispatch. The Palmer officer, a trooper and an AST K-9 chased Abarca through the woods. Abarca fired multiple shots at his pursuers and the officers fired back, striking Abarca in the shoulder.


More than one bullet struck the K-9, which was taken to a veterinarian and later died at 9:32 a.m. from its wounds, troopers wrote. That K-9 will not be identified until its AST handler’s name has been released. Trooper spokesman Tim Despain confirmed the K-9 was not wearing a ballistic vest at the time of the shooting.


Abarca was transported to a hospital with an injury that was not considered life-threatening, according to troopers.


Authorities have charged Abarca with two counts of third-degree assault, first-degree harming a police dog and eluding police. He is being held on an outstanding $20,000 warrant for second-degree burglary, according to troopers.


The names of the officer and trooper involved in the shooting will not be released for 72 hours, per each department’s policy, troopers stated.


“The AST Alaska Bureau of Investigation has responded to the scene, and is conducting the scene investigation,” troopers said.


Despain said it was unclear if additional charges would be filed for the passengers in Abarca’s vehicle.


Correction: In their initial report, Alaska State Troopers incorrectly named the suspect in this case. This report was updated with the suspect’s correct name when troopers made the correction in their statement.


This is a developing story, please check back for updates.