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Troopers identify officers that killed motorcyclist following chase through Palmer, Wasilla

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Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 1:57 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2021 at 9:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska State Troopers identified the three officers that shot and killed a Wasilla motorcyclist who fled from police and allegedly reached for a BB gun, which law enforcement said they mistook for a firearm.

The officers involved in the Thursday evening shooting include Wasilla Police Officer Cody Rice, who has two years of experience; Palmer Police Officer Richard Clark, who has four years of experience; and Palmer Police Reserve Officer James Harvey, who has five years of experience.

The Palmer and Wasilla police officers fatally shot 27-year-old Zaqua Radle-Maxson, the agency said in an online dispatch Friday.

No officers were injured by the chase or shooting incident.

According to the dispatch, a Palmer police officer attempted to stop a motorcycle speeding near the Alaska State Fairgrounds around 6:43 p.m. that day. After failing to stop, the officer initiated a chase on the motorcyclist, which later included Wasilla police after entering their jurisdiction.

During the chase, troopers said that officers noticed a “holstered handgun on the motorcycle operator’s belt.”

The 17-minute chase came to an end when the motorcyclist stopped on Church Road, near the Spruce Avenue intersection, and allegedly reached for what officers believed was a handgun.

“Due to the driver’s actions, Palmer police officers and Wasilla police officers fired their service weapons, fatally injuring the motorcycle driver,” the dispatch stated. The agency did not note how many officers fired their weapons or how many shots were fired.

The dispatch said police later realized that the “firearm” was actually a “full-size BB gun designed to look like a functioning handgun.” It added that the BB gun did not have an orange tip or marking to differentiate it from a real handgun.

Following the officer-involved shooting, both police departments requested troopers to investigate the incident.

Troopers said the officers who fired their weapons at Radle-Maxson have been placed on administrative leave.

Once troopers complete their investigation, it will be reviewed by the Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions.

This is a developing story. Check in for updates.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new details.

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