Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2007

Teen dies after shooting at home

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ANCHORAGE - A 13-year-old boy has died after being shot at a birthday party at a Fort Richardson home.

Anchorage police say Elijah Harrison was pronounced dead at a military hospital at nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base where he was taken after the shooting Saturday evening.

Anchorage police are assisting military authorities investigating the shooting.

Lt. Paul Honeman says Harrison was among several young people at the party when the shooting occurred. He says investigators are trying to determine if the shooting was intentional.

Natural causes ruled out in prison death

FAIRBANKS - Natural causes have been ruled out as the cause of death of a Fairbanks man found unresponsive in his cell at the Red Rock Correctional Center in Arizona.

Results from toxicology tests on 36-year-old Rusty Hightower are weeks away, said Capt. Shane Blakeman of the Eloy Police Department, which is leading the death investigation.

Hightower was serving a life sentence for murder in the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old cab driver, Dale Baurick, during a 1988 robbery. Hightower was tried as an adult for murder and other felonies when he was 17 years old.

Hightower's cell mate found him dead Sept. 17, according to Eloy police.

An autopsy performed last week found no sign of physical trauma, Blakeman said.

The Corrections Corp. of America, owner of the newly-built Red Rock facility, is not commenting until the cause of death is determined.

"Pending some resolution as to the cause of death, we feel it would be premature and inappropriate to comment on these matters at this time," said company spokesman Steven Owen.

The Alaska Department of Corrections has sent a representative to Arizona to monitor the investigation and to make sure the Corrections Corp. of America is following its contract with the state, said Richard Schmitz, a corrections department spokesman.

Troopers release names of plane crash victims

ANCHORAGE - A man killed and a woman severely injured in a plane crash near Prince William Sound were an Anchorage couple, Alaska State Troopers said Sunday.

Howard Holtan, the 61-year-old pilot, died in the crash Saturday afternoon near Lake Shrode. His wife, Roberta Carney, 47, was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

A nursing supervisor at the hospital said Carney did not want any information about her condition released.

The couple had been flying from lake to lake on a day excursion, said trooper Sgt. Bryan Barlow.

A pilot friend from Anchorage was flying another plane along with them and called for a search when he couldn't raise them on the radio or see their Cessna 180 floatplane, Barlow said. The friend did not want his name released, Barlow said.

Hikers in the area saw the plane go down shortly after takeoff and they radioed a nearby boat, according to the Alaska Air National Guard.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew in the area rescued the woman and flew her to Anchorage.

Holtan's body was recovered by rescuers with the Guard.

There were no other people on board the plane.

The cause of the crash is unknown, Barlow said. The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will investigate, he said.

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