Grand jury indicts Willow man in shooting death last year

Lisa DemerAlaska Dispatch News

A 60-year-old Willow man has been charged with murder in the shooting of a Talkeetna man last year, Alaska State Troopers said.

A Palmer grand jury handed up a three-count indictment against James Armstrong on Friday.

Armstrong is accused of killing Ronald D. Gunter, 61, after the two got in a fight on Nov. 20.

According to troopers, the fight broke out at a residence on South Susitna Drive near Mile 91 of the Parks Highway.

"During the altercation, one of the men produced a small caliber pistol and fired a single shot in an apparent attempt to stop the assault, striking the other male in the head and killing him," troopers said in their initial report on the shooting, back in November.

Troopers from Talkeetna arrived within five minutes, the agency said at the time.

The Palmer district attorney's office consulted with investigators and made a preliminary decision not to arrest the shooter.

Then, the case was presented to a grand jury.

The panel handed up an indictment charging Armstrong with two murder charges and one manslaughter charge, indicating three theories of the killing: that he intended to cause serious injury, that his behavior manifested "an extreme indifference to the value of human life," or that he acted recklessly.

Armstrong was arrested Friday and is being held in the Mat-Su Pretrial facility. His bail was set initially at $25,000.

Armstrong owns a towing company, according to troopers.

Reach Lisa Demer at or 257-4390.

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