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Crime & Courts

Homeowner shoots Fairbanks man during alleged vehicle theft attempt

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: October 14, 2017
  • Published October 13, 2017

A homeowner shot an 18-year-old Fairbanks man in the leg during an apparent attempt to stop a vehicle theft from the homeowner's property in North Pole, the small city southeast of Fairbanks, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The altercation happened this past Saturday but wasn't disclosed by troopers until Thursday.

In an online dispatch, troopers said they received a report that a homeowner shot at two men who, the homeowner said, were stealing a vehicle.

Conner O'Neill, the Fairbanks 18-year-old, was shot in the leg and ran away, while a juvenile male with O'Neill was unhurt but held by the homeowner at gunpoint until authorities arrived, troopers said.

A few minutes later, O'Neill was reported to be in the hallway of a nearby housing complex, trying to get inside a locked apartment, troopers said. Troopers arrived at the apartment and held O'Neill there before he was taken to a hospital.

O'Neill is now being held as a fugitive from Texas, where's he's charged with drug possession, troopers said. But O'Neill hasn't been charged with vehicle theft.

An investigation into the altercation is still underway, troopers said. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters wouldn't say if the homeowner's actions were also being scrutinized.

"The district attorney is reviewing the full case and will determine if charges for this specific incident are warranted, and against whom," she said in an email.

The homeowner has not been charged with a crime, she added.

Alaska law allows a person to use "deadly force" to defend property only in cases of burglary, arson, carjacking, or if a car is being stolen with another person inside, said John Skidmore, director of the criminal division of the state Department of Law.

Skidmore stressed that he was speaking generally and was unaware of the specific facts of the North Pole case.

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