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Man found dead in lake may have tie to Trooper shooting

Posted: July 7, 2013 - 12:06am

ANCHORAGE — Investigators are trying to determine if there’s a connection between a man who fired shots at Alaska State Troopers last week in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and a body found in a nearby lake that fit his description.

A Big Lake man fishing in a pontoon boat spotted the body Wednesday evening in Stephan Lake.

Jim Faiks told the Anchorage Daily News the body was floating close to shore and fit the description from authorities of a man who fired at troopers after a car chase June 25.

Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said the state medical examiner was working to identify the body.

“We have not ruled that they are or are not connected,” she said by email. “Both incidents are still under investigation.”

Troopers have not said why they were pursuing the man.

A 10-minute chase ended at a gate leading to 70 acres owned by Faiks. The suspect got out of his vehicle and fired shots. The trooper was not injured and called for backup. The troopers’ Special Emergency Reaction Team rushed to the area to conduct a search, which included Faiks’ property.

That night, Faiks said, a neighbor who lives on an island about one-quarter mile off shore reported hearing a swimmer in distress. She called troopers.

“She had heard and seen someone splashing around in the lake,” Faiks said.

Neither the troopers nor members of Mat-Su Borough Dive Rescue found anyone.

Faiks on Wednesday fished for pike. He’s trying to eliminate them from the lake.

“I caught some pike, and then you’ve got to get rid of the pike,” he said. “So I took them out to where the eagles go, and while I’m going along the shore on the way to that point is where I saw the body floating.”

The wanted man was 5 feet 7 inches tall with short hair. The man Faiks found was tattooed, like the suspect. A snowshoe was found near the body.

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