Charges filed Monday revealed new details of a weekend police chase in which a driver rammed a patrol car, was nearly shot by an officer, then drove at high speed through downtown Anchorage.
A police dog ultimately caught Lusia Kalakaua Pedro, 34, when he ran from the car after the roughly five-mile chase in the early morning hours Sunday. Pedro appeared in court Monday with a cast or large bandage on his right arm, where the dog bit him, his family said. He faces felony charges of failing to stop for a police officer, assault and weapons misconduct.
The officer-involved shooting was the second in five days and the third time in that span that a driver struck a police cruiser. Officers shot and killed Carl Bowie III, 25, on Feb. 19 after he hit two patrol cars and drove toward the officers, police said.
According to the charges against Pedro and statements by police, here is what happened Sunday:
A woman called 911 about 3 a.m. saying a man had pointed a black gun out of his vehicle behind a bar in the 700 block of West 4th Avenue "and yelled at everyone to get out of his way," the charges say. Police identified the vehicle as a Dodge Charger.
A police sergeant spotted the car at Third Avenue and Ingra Street and pulled it over at Fifth Avenue and Karluk Street, according to the charges. With the car stopped, the sergeant waited for back up. Two patrol cars arrived and boxed in the car. As three officers walked toward the car, Pedro put it in reverse, slamming into one car and moving it several feet, police said. Two officers feared for their lives, the charges say.
An officer fired once at the car, and while the shot did not hit anyone directly, two people inside the car received minor injuries from flying debris as a result of the bullet's impact with the car, police said.
Pedro sped away, nearly hitting the sergeant, the charges say. Officers followed and threw out a "spike" strip that punctured his tires at Fifth Avenue and C Street. But Pedro continued at about 70 mph, running several stop lights while driving west on Fifth, according to the charges.
The car turned left and drove about 60 mph south on L Street until the street turned into Minnesota Drive. Pedro threw the gun out a window and, likely because its tires were flat, was having trouble controlling the car, the charges say. Officers found the gun in a snowbank later.
As Pedro's car passed under the International Airport Road overpass above Minnesota, an officer slammed his car into the Charger. That forced the car into a ditch, and Pedro jumped out and ran, the charges say. A police dog named "MP" nabbed Pedro, holding him until officers could handcuff him, according to police and the charging document.
Police soon learned Pedro was wanted for a probation violation from a prior drug conviction in federal court. Court records show Pedro's other criminal convictions include criminally negligent homicide, disorderly conduct and, on three separate occasions, driving with a revoked license.
At an arraignment hearing Monday, a judge set Pedro's bail at $125,000 cash and appointed him a public defender. After the hearing, Pedro's cousin described him as a "sweetheart" and said she didn't understand why, at least according to the police, he would do something like ram a police car.
"I'm confused. I don't really know what happened," said June Fonoti, the cousin.
Fonoti said her four-year-old daughter, who was in court, did not understand either. The girl saw Pedro's hurt arm said, "Uncle's got an owie." An officer told Fonoti the injury was from the police dog's bite.
"She kept saying, 'How come uncle's in that color? Why's he wearing the shirt like everybody else?' What do you tell a kid? I was like, 'He's in jail,' " Fonoti said. "So she blows him a kiss."
Reach Casey Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4589.