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Despondent California man leaps to his death in Anchorage

Casey Grove

Thursday update: The victim has been identified by Anchorage police as Christian Kroll.

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Original article:

A California man with unrealized dreams of working in the Alaska fishing industry stole a taxicab, drove through security at the Port of Anchorage and jumped to his death from a fuel tank early Wednesday, police said.

The 31-year-old Oroville, Calif., man arrived in Anchorage on Tuesday. He was walking a city street when an officer stopped and spoke to him about 3 a.m. Wednesday, said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.

"He was despondent and possibly thinking about hurting himself," Parker said. "He came to Alaska because he had watched the 'Deadliest Catch' on television, and he was expecting to get a job in the fishing industry."

The man, whose name has not been released, did not get a job and was upset, Parker said. The officer took him to the psychiatric ward at Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he was evaluated and released about 5:30 a.m., the police spokesman said.

Hospital staff gave the man a voucher for a free taxi ride to Brother Francis, the homeless shelter, but the man fought with the cab driver, Parker said.

"He grabbed the steering wheel and started struggling with the cab driver, who was somehow ejected or forced out," Parker said.

The man drove the car to the port, through a security checkpoint, and jumped out near a tank, Parker said. He climbed up a stairway on the tank and over a railing, Parker said.

"It was about 50 feet off the deck, and he jumped off," Parker said.

The man was killed in the fall, Parker said. Police have the man's name but aren't releasing it until his next of kin are notified, Parker said.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.


By CASEY GROVE
Anchorage Daily News