Troopers look into shooting by officer

Victim was disabled, according to family

Posted: Monday, January 06, 2003

ANCHORAGE - Alaska State Troopers continue to investigate an officer's fatal shooting of a man Saturday morning near Soldotna as the man drove his car toward another trooper after refusing to get out of his vehicle.

Trooper Arthur J. Osborn, 26, of Seward, fired the weapon that killed 30-year-old Casey G. Porter of Nikiski, troopers said. Osborn, a K-9 handler, was hired by the agency in March 2001. He is a former Spring Creek corrections officer.

The other trooper at the scene was identified as Joseph Whittom, 26, hired in August 2001. Before joining the troopers, Whittom worked as a corrections officer in Bethel.

Troopers continued to investigate the shooting and investigators were at the scene again Sunday morning and conducting interviews throughout the day, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

According to troopers, the incident occurred after a state Department of Transportation employee spotted a blue sedan early Saturday parked in a pullout on the Kenai Keys Road at mile 80 of the Sterling Highway.

Osborn and Whittom arrived at the scene. While Osborn talked with Porter, Whittom stood outside the patrol car, which was parked in front of the sedan.

Troopers said Porter twice refused to get out of his car so Osborn sprayed him with pepper spray in an effort to get him to comply. Porter then began driving his car toward the marked patrol car and Whittom, troopers said.

Osborn ordered Porter to stop and when he didn't Osborn fired his gun, hitting the man. Porter died at the scene.

Osborn and Whittom have been placed on a three-day administrative leave.

Brando Wik of Nikiski, Porter's uncle, said Porter was disabled and couldn't have responded quickly to the demand that he get out of his car. Porter had broken his neck and his back in a car wreck last August and had been using a cane to help operate the clutch of his car, said

"If they would have given Casey time, I'm sure he could have" gotten out, Wik said. "His right leg was spastic. It would just shake real hard."

The troopers' story "just sounds so weak. I think they didn't have to shoot Casey. They could have disabled the vehicle," Wik said.

Wilkinson said that even if Porter couldn't get out of the car quickly, that doesn't explain his accelerating toward the patrol car.

"The trooper believed the other trooper's life was in danger," he said.

Wilkinson said all of the facts aren't available yet. "Something obviously escalated this situation rapidly. We'll just have to wait until the investigation is completed."

State records show Porter had a long list of criminal offenses, including being a minor in possession of alcohol and resisting arrest.



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