Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Man killed in Knik River shooting

ANCHORAGE - A woman canoeing on the Knik River said she slipped and her handgun fired, hitting a male companion in the back.

Shawn O'Connell, 27, Palmer, died on the riverbank. The woman's name has not been released.

The Knik River flows 25 miles from the Knik Glacier to Cook Inlet about 10 miles south of Palmer.

A woman called 911 on a cellular phone just after 6 p.m. to report that the man she was with in a boat on the river had been accidentally shot, Alaska State Troopers said.

The woman told dispatchers she slipped and fell and the gun went off, troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

Troopers and emergency responders struggling to pinpoint the couple's location asked planes in the area to scout for the canoe and its occupants.

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