Crime & Courts

Passenger in Fairbanks traffic stop shootout charged

The 20-year-old passenger wounded in a gunfight with police in Fairbanks Wednesday has been charged with third-degree assault and first-degree misconduct involving weapons, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers said Sarah Smoke of Fairbanks was arrested around 4 p.m. Friday and taken to the Fairbanks jail, where she was being held without bail.

Smoke was riding in the passenger seat of a Pontiac driven by Vincent Perdue, 33, on Wednesday morning. Troopers tried to stop the car in Fairbanks for failing to use a turn signal and having windows that were tinted too heavily, according to troopers.

Troopers said Perdue did not stop. Instead, he accelerated and a chase began. Both Perdue and Smoke leaned out the car's windows to shoot at police, troopers said.

Their car eventually went into a ditch as Perdue tried to avoid hitting a tire deflation device. When Perdue and Smoke passed Fairbanks police, four troopers and one police officer fired their guns at them, troopers said.

Perdue was pronounced dead at the scene and Smoke was taken to the hospital with injuries.

Troopers said they would not release the names of the officers involved in the shooting until Saturday. It is the agency's practice to withhold the names for 72 hours.

On Friday, troopers also identified five members of the force who shot and wounded a man in Fairbanks on Tuesday.

It was another traffic stop that ended in gunfire. It began around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when troopers stopped an allegedly armed man at the wheel of a car that had been reported stolen earlier in the day.

After about 40 minutes of negotiations and attempts to use less lethal munitions, the suspect was shot and taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital with "potentially life-threatening injuries," troopers said.

Troopers identified the commander of the troopers' Fairbanks detachment -- Capt. Ronald Wall, a 25-year troopers veteran -- as one of the troopers who ultimately opened fire on a car at the Davis Road ballfields.

Troopers Edward Halbert, Jacob Hayungs, Edwin Carlson and Tyler Langford -- with 13 years, nine years, one year and seven months as troopers, respectively -- also opened fire, troopers said.

Troopers Lt. Brian Wassmann, the Fairbanks detachment's deputy commander under Wall, with 22 years on the force, as well as 10-year Fairbanks Police Department Officer Ron Dupee, fired the less lethal rounds. Wassman was using a 37mm beanbag-round launcher, while Dupee had a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with beanbag rounds, troopers said.

Peters said Friday that the less lethal weapons used were similar but had been separately approved for use by troopers and police.

"They're both beanbag rounds, but they're different systems," Peters said.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said she didn't have an update Friday on the condition of the man injured in the shooting. She said his identity will be released if he is charged with a crime.

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