Pilot Station man dies during shootout with Troopers

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A man was killed Thursday in an alleged shootout with Alaska State Troopers in the western Alaska village of Pilot Station. The day prior, that man allegedly assaulted a woman.

According to troopers, Dwight Heckman, 27, of Pilot Station, was found dead after an "exchange of gunfire," and later found dead in the woods by a special emergency response team.

The incident began on March 7, when Heckman allegedly fired gunshots and assaulted a woman. Troopers in St. Mary's responded then, after reports that Heckman struck the woman and strangled her at a home. He then allegedly dragged her our of the house into the street, and "fired multiple rounds from a handgun in close proximity to her before fleeing the area on a snowmachine."

After that, the woman found safety with family, and troopers planned to investigate the following day due to weather.

On Thursday, troopers said, an officer arrived at Heckman's home. There, he allegedly pointed a gun "in the direction of the trooper" and fled into the woods behind his house. Two hours later, he was spotted by the same officer.

That's when, troopers say, the shooting began. "The suspect fired multiple rounds and then fled back into the woods," troopers wrote in a dispatch report.

Aside from stating that there was "an exchange of gunfire," little is known about the specific details that resulted in Heckman's death. Troopers say officials will "investigate the totality of the incident" when weather permits it.

As usual, it will be 72 hours before the officers who fired will have their names released. "At the completion of ABI's investigation," AST wrote in their report, "The case will be turned over to Department of Law's Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals for review."

Editorial Note: This story previously said the man was shot by troopers, but his cause of death has not yet been determined.

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