Man who fired gun after trooper pursuit still at large

Kyle Hopkins,Casey Grove

The subject of a Tuesday manhunt in Big Lake remained on the loose late Tuesday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

A trooper tried to stop the man's vehicle at 8:22 a.m. near Big Lake Road, according to troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. The man refused to pull over, launching a 10-minute pursuit. He then stopped and got out of the vehicle, firing a gun before running away, Peters said.

It was unclear if the man fired at the trooper, who was not hurt. Peters described the man as 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He is "possibly of Asian descent and has a short, tight haircut," she wrote in an email.

Burma Road resident Ben Hines said he heard a siren at the time of the chase nearing his house on the winding, hilly gravel road.

"By the time I looked out, I just caught a glimpse of the flashing lights on the vehicle through the trees, down beyond our house, and the dust cloud," Hines said. "I did hear some shots. It was a long ways off."

Troopers warned people in Big Lake to avoid picking up hitchhikers and said not to answer their doors unless a law enforcement officer knocks. Peters said residents should not let anyone unfamiliar into their homes even if they do not match the suspect's description.

About 8:50 a.m., the troopers activated their agency's Special Emergency Reaction Team -- officers with body armor and long guns -- and notified Big Lake residents of the manhunt. The troopers' Helo-2, a Robinson R44 helicopter, and at least one police dog joined in the search, Peters said. Troopers asked anyone who sees something suspicious to call 352-5401 and report it.

Peters said about 3:30 p.m. that the SERT officers were standing down and that troopers were calling off their "active search" in the area. Still, Big Lake residents should remain vigilant, she said.

"We don't want people to think that because we're not in the area that we found the person," Peters said. "It is an ongoing situation, and as soon as we have more information to put out to the public, we certainly will."

It was unclear what avenue the search would take next.

Ben Hines and his wife Marsha had been waiting inside their home. Hines was outside earlier after witnessing the chase, he said, when a trooper in an unmarked car drove past.

"He filled me in on what was happening," Hines said. "He recommended to arm myself and be on the lookout."

Later, SERT officers knocked and said they were doing a door-to-door search, Hines said.

"They didn't actually come in our house, but they searched the outbuildings that weren't secured," Hines said. "They just asked if I had seen anybody strange, not normally here."

Hines said he was armed Tuesday afternoon, waiting to hear more and "not particularly" worried about the events unfolding not far from his home. There are a lot of back roads in Big Lake to search, Hines said.

"There's a lot of nooks and crannies," he said.



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