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Petersburg man gets over 6 years for standoff

Posted: September 8, 2013 - 12:06am

PETERSBURG — A drunken man who threatened Petersburg police with an assault rifle will spend more than six years in jail.

Jace Cunningham, 30, was sentenced this week for assault charges and placing officers in fear of their safety.

The incident happened last October at a roadblock outside of town. Police responded to reports that Cunningham was drunk, suicidal and parked in his car with an assault rifle, KFSK reported.

Prosecutor Angie Kemp of Juneau argued during a teleconferenced hearing from Ketchikan that Cunningham should have received a flat, 10-year sentence. She noted he has two prior convictions of attempted robbery using a gun, as well as vehicle theft. All were from Tennessee early last decade.

Authorities accused of him of shooting a gun toward officers as he once started to drive away. He denied he fired the gun.

One of the felony convictions was based on audio tape of the incident, in which Cunningham is heard threatening to shoot officers and telling Sgt. Heidi Agner that he had her in his rifle scope.

Judge William Carey called that the most serious offense.

“She was scared to death and she had every reason to be. She had a man at just a few feet away pointing an AR-15 directly at her advising here that she was within his scope and, as I say, he’s just lucky he’s not dead today because it wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine other officers just saying, ‘This is it. I can’t let my sergeant go down this way.’ And he could have been taken out. I’m glad that didn’t happen, obviously,” Carey said.

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