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Troopers name officer, suspect in Kenai Peninsula shooting

Jerzy Shedlock

Alaska State Troopers have named the trooper involved in a Tuesday shooting on the Kenai Peninsula as Eric Jeffords.

Troopers reported earlier this week that a despondent man who initially refused to pull over exited his vehicle on the Sterling Highway and retrieved a firearm from the trunk. That prompted trooper Jeffords to fire in response, injuring the man.

Jeffords is a seven-year veteran of the agency and is assigned to the Cooper Landing post. Troopers released his name three days after the incident, as per Department of Public Safety policy. He was featured in a single episode of the third season of National Geographic’s reality show “Alaska State Troopers,” according to IMDb. The name of the 2012 episode was “Gun N Hide.”

On Friday, an arrest warrant was issued in Kenai District Court for Christopher D. Chapman, the 21-year-old who allegedly drew a rifle on troopers.

Chapman now faces multiple charges for the incident, including two counts each of third-degree assault, failing to stop at the direction of an officer and reckless driving. All of the charges, four of which are felonies, stem from the Tuesday shooting.

Chapman was placed under arrest upon his release from an Anchorage hospital and taken to the Anchorage Correctional Complex pending an initial court appearance.

Around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, troopers got a call from the Seward Police Department about “a despondent male driving north on the Seward Highway.” According to a police department log, the man’s girlfriend said Chapman was suicidal and threatening to kill her and himself by crashing his gray Buick LeSabre.

The girlfriend was able to get away at a Safeway and told police Chapman sped northward on the Seward Highway, according to the log. Officers were unable to locate the Buick and called troopers for help.

Trooper Jeffords spotted Chapman near Mile 7 of the Seward Highway, but when Jeffords tried to pull him over Chapman drove off at a high rate of speed, according to the charging document. A pursuit was called off as Chapman accelerated to 100 mph and was passing vehicles in no-pass zones, the charges says.

Troopers eventually caught up with Chapman at Mile 68 of the Sterling Highway. He still refused to stop, the charges say. Another trooper a mile down the road disabled three of the Buick’s tires by deploying a “tire deflation device,” the charges say.

The vehicle ended up in the ditch. Charges allege Chapman got out of the car and opened its trunk. He pulled what appeared to be a bolt-action rifle from the trunk and apparently loaded the gun, the charges say.

Chapman “began to turn around toward (the troopers) with the rifle, meanwhile disregarding commands to put down the firearm,” according to the charges. Trooper Jeffords opened fire from the driver’s side door of his patrol vehicle and struck Chapman at least once. The injured man allegedly told troopers he “came here to die, and that he wanted to be shot,” the charges say.

Investigators spotted packages of Spice, or synthetic marijuana, in the passenger seat of Chapman’s car.