UPDATE: Police officer identified in Wasilla officer involved shooting

Published: Jan. 23, 2020 at 12:52 PM AKST
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Sunday, Jan. 26 Update:

The Wasilla Police Department has identified the officer involved in the Jan. 23 shooting as Officer Nate Lecours.

In a statement released Sunday, WPD says Lecours has five years of law enforcement experience and has spent two years on the Wasilla police force. Lecours served in the 82nd Airborne Division for five years and spent three years with the National Guard, according to the statement.

Update, 9:15 p.m.

She said they were friendly neighbors. He was always polite. Her daughter babysat his kids. Then, the unimaginable happened ... and she doesn't understand why.

"It doesn't make any sense,” Gage Southard’s neighbor said. “He was always very aware and respectful to his neighbors. He was a gentleman.”

Early Thursday morning, police were called to the Equestrian Acres neighborhood on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway.

"We got a call involving a domestic disturbance,” Megan Peters with the Alaska Department of Public Safety said. “They were told there was also a gun in the home."

Troopers arrived at 26-year-old Southard's home around 2:30 a.m. to find a woman with two children. The woman reportedly had sustained minor injuries and warned troopers Southard was still in the house.

"He did have a shotgun, is what was told to us,” Peters said. “He got in his vehicle and ended up leaving."

Channel 2 asked Peters why troopers were unable to prevent Southard from leaving, to which she promptly responded, “I don't have that information. All I have is that he left."

The Wasilla Police Department intercepted Southard near MTA Sports Center on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. They attempted to pull him over. Southard drove into a ditch and reportedly got out of his car "brandishing a shotgun."

"WPD discharged service weapon(s),” Peters said. “The man was injured. He was taken to a hospital. Life-saving measures failed."

Troopers did not elaborate on why WPD fired. They have taken over investigation into the shooting. As they probe the circumstances surrounding Southard’s death, his neighbors are left to wonder … How could this happen?

Troopers will release the names of the officers involved in the shooting within 72 hours.

Original story

A man is dead following a shooting by Wasilla Police after a short chase with both Wasilla police and Alaska State Troopers.

According to both the Wasilla Police Department and Alaska State Troopers, the suspect was involved in a domestic disturbance in Equestrian Acres in Palmer.

Around 2:33 a.m., AST responded to the scene where it had been reported that a firearm was in a home where the disturbance happened.

While there AST found an injured woman and two children leaving the home. The woman said the suspect, 26-year-old Gage Southard, was in the garage armed with a shotgun.

Shortly afterward, Southard left the garage in an SUV.

Wasilla police then responded to assist and found Southard on the Palmer Wasilla Highway.

Both WPD and AST tried to stop Southard , but he took off and a short chase happened.

Southard crashed his SUV into a ditch in a neighborhood near the MTA Sports Center and got out of his vehicle brandishing a shotgun.

That is when WPD fired shots.

Troopers arrived shortly after the shooting and officers from both departments began life-saving measures, Troopers wrote in a dispatch. Southard was taken by ambulance to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Palmer, where he died.

The Alaska State Troopers’ General Investigative Unit, with assistance from the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, is taking control of the case.

The WPD officers involved in the shooting incident will be named after 72 hours.

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