Crime & Courts

North Pole man charged in friend’s shooting death said he didn’t know gun was loaded, troopers say

A 23-year-old North Pole man accused of fatally shooting his friend early Saturday morning told authorities that he didn’t think the gun was loaded, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers in an online report identified the man who died as Samuel Chastain, 19, of North Pole.

Troopers said in the report that around 1:30 a.m., they received a call about a shooting at a North Pole home. Chastain had been shot in the head with a pistol and was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said.

The suspect, Jubal James, “admitted that he was manipulating the firearm and believing it was empty, pointed it at the victim and pulled the trigger,” troopers said.

James was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, and he has been remanded to Fairbanks Correctional Center, troopers said.

“The investigation revealed that the victim and suspect were friends and had been consuming alcohol and marijuana with multiple juveniles,” troopers said.

Next of kin were notified and the investigation is ongoing.

Annie Berman

Annie Berman covers health care for the Anchorage Daily News. She's a fellow with Report for America, and is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A veteran of AmeriCorps and Vista volunteer programs, she's previously reported for Mission Local and KQED in the Bay Area.