ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

Alaska State Troopers visiting a school musical in Ketchikan received an early Christmas present Thursday night, when they spotted and arrested a man on a warrant who tried to flee from the gathering.

A Friday AST dispatch says Jason Simpson, 30, was taken into custody shortly before 8 p.m. outside the Fawn Mountain Elementary School in Ketchikan. Court records show Simpson had been wanted on a $5,000 arrest warrant for a petition to revoke parole, following a 2011 second-degree burglary case.

According to AST spokesperson Megan Peters, officers from a number of local, state and federal agencies had been invited to the school as part of a goodwill gesture for children at the musical.

“There was a school holiday choir Christmas-type event going on,” Peters said. “There were tons of people there with their kids, including the suspect.”

On-duty Trooper John Brown was among those invited. Peters says he was enjoying himself at the event when an off-duty trooper pointed Simpson out in the crowd. The two were able to verify his identity using a photo of Simpson on one of the troopers’ cellphones, and Brown subsequently approached him.

“While he seemed to be cooperative, (troopers) were trying to get him away from the crowd, but he suddenly bolted,” Peters said.

Many of the officers present moved to stop Simpson, as did others in attendance. Peters says at least two people, including an elderly woman she described as “five-foot-nothing,” tried to grab him but weren’t able to hold on. While Simpson had a switchblade he never tried to use it, and Peters says the public was never in danger during the chase.

Ttroopers arrested Simpson without injuries in the school’s parking lot, with help from a village public safety officer and a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer who were both off-duty. Officers also found drug paraphernalia on Simpson after he was in custody.

“(Simpson) and the trooper went into a puddle of mud, so he got muddy but not hurt,” Peters said.

Simpson was taken to the Ketchikan Correctional Center, where he was held without bail on the charges from the warrant as well as violating probation, resisting arrest, and fourth-degree and fifth-degree counts of misconduct involving weapons.