Wasilla shooter kills 3, himself

Trooper, 2 children die after domestic dispute

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2001

WASILLA - A 24-year-old Wasilla man shot a trooper, his two children, and himself Saturday after a dispute with his girlfriend, Alaska State Troopers reported.

Dead are Trooper Hans Roelle, a 17-year veteran of the force, the apparent shooter, Ryan Andrews, and his two children. The dead children are Cheyenne Cordell, 3, and her brother Kluane Cordell, who was a year and a half old.

Andrews had a dispute with his girlfriend, 25-year-old Amy Cordell, while he was driving north on the Parks Highway near Willow Saturday morning, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

The argument escalated, and Cordell jumped out of the Chevy Suburban shortly after 11 a.m. to avoid being assaulted. Andrews tried to drag her back into the vehicle, but she managed to get away.

When a trooper and ambulance arrived at the scene, Andrews turned around and headed south, followed by Trooper Eric Spitzer. The chase reached speeds of about 100 mph before troopers backed off at the direction of Roelle, who was the trooper supervisor on duty at the time, Wilkinson said.

Andrews continued through Wasilla, with troopers monitoring his progress, and went to the couple's home at a trailer park near intersection of the Parks and the Glenn Highway, about 30 miles north of Anchorage.

Trooper Roelle, along with Trooper Matthew Tarbox, arrived at the home at 11:24 a.m., Wilkinson said.

Moments later, as Roelle went up the driveway toward the trailer, Andrews came out onto the front porch and fired with a large-caliber Desert Eagle semiautomatic handgun, hitting Roelle and killing him instantly.

Andrews then went back inside. Troopers heard three more shots, then silence, Wilkinson said.

Trooper Tarbox called for reinforcements, and troopers, along with officers from the Wasilla and Palmer departments, surrounded the trailer. About two hours after Roelle was shot, troopers entered the home using a camouflaging gas because they weren't sure who or what was inside.

They found the three bodies, all shot to death.

Trooper Roelle graduated from the Public Safety Academy in Sitka in 1984. He had been working on commercial vehicle enforcement the last few years, but he returned to patrol duty earlier this year. He was stationed in Palmer.

Roelle, 40, leaves a wife, Christine, and four young children who attend Rogers Park Elementary School in Anchorage.

"Trooper Roelle was killed doing the simple basic things that troopers do every day," Wilkinson said. "He served valiantly and will be missed."

Roelle is the 12th Alaska State Trooper to die while on duty since statehood.

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