Alaska News

Juneau Mayor Fisk found dead in his downtown home

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Tuesday morning update:

Police Chief Bryce Johnson told the Juneau Empire newspaper there was no evidence of forced entry into Mayor Greg Fisk's home.

An attack is "one of the possibilities out there, but there's others that could have happened. There could've been a fall. There's lots of things that would cause it," Johnson told the Empire.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Original story:

JUNEAU -- Juneau Mayor Greg Fisk was found dead at his home Monday, police said.

At 3:34 p.m. Fisk's adult son, Ian Fisk, called 911 to report having found Stephen "Greg" Fisk deceased inside his downtown Juneau residence, the Juneau Police Department said Monday night.

No cause of death was released but late Monday Juneau police addressed rumors surrounding Fisk's death.

"JPD is aware of rumors that an assault occurred in connection with Fisk's death. Those rumors are speculation," police spokesperson Erann Kalwara said. "Detectives are actively investigating facts of the incident and all evidence is being preserved and documented."

Fisk's body is being sent to the State Medical Examiner Office for an autopsy, a process expected to take several days. Fisk was 70 years old.

Police were interviewing neighbors and examining the area around the house with flashlights into the evening.

"I'm heartbroken, I think it's a devastating loss for our community," said Sally Schlichting, a neighbor on Kennedy Street where Fisk lived.

Fisk won election last month as mayor, ousting incumbent Merrill Sanford by a 2-1 margin.

Sanford praised Fisk's dedication to the community during the campaign, and did so again Monday, saying both shared goals of economic development.

Sanford's praise for Fisk was so effusive that Juneau radio reporter Pete Carran asked Sanford whether he'd be voting for himself.

Juneau resident Bob King, who campaigned for Fisk and lives next door, said the campaign was notable for how positive it was, and that Juneau has suffered a tremendous loss.

"So much of today's politics has become so personal, and it just becomes these unrelated issues, but this race wasn't like that," he said.

Fisk had a long history in the fishing industry, and was currently working as a fisheries consultant.

State Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka, said he was in a "state of shock" about Fisk's death.

"We talked about fish stuff a lot, and we were trading ideas on municipal policy after he got elected as mayor," Kriess-Tomkins said.

Juneau officials canceled a meeting of the city assembly that has been scheduled for Monday evening. Despite the meeting's cancellation, assembly member Maria Gladziszewski said several officials gathered at City Hall "in shock."

"We were just there talking about the mayor and thinking about his family," Gladziszewski said.

"He had great ideas about moving Juneau forward," she said. "It's just shocking and a tragedy that he won't be able to do that."

Gladziszewski said that Deputy Mayor Mary Becker will immediately take over for Fisk, but the next step was still unknown Monday night.

City and Borough of Juneau clerk Laurie Sica said the city will issue a release Tuesday with details on how city government will operate, according to KTOO Public Media.

"It's not that our city won't continue," Becker said late Monday. "We will keep going, but it's just very, very sad not to have Greg as our mayor."

Correction: An earlier version of this story identified Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins as representing Juneau. He is from Sitka.