Troopers: Police fatally shoot Wasilla man armed with BB gun

Police officers shot and killed a Wasilla man who they say attempted to reach for what later turned out to be a BB gun, according to a report Friday from Alaska State Troopers.  

Troopers identified the man as 27-year-old Zaqua Radle-Maxson. 

According to the troopers’ report, Palmer police officers attempted to stop a speeding motorcycle driven by Radle-Maxson near the Alaska State Fairgrounds on Wednesday at 6:43 p.m. When it didn’t stop, they started a chase and called in the Wasilla police to help, said the report. 

“During the course of the pursuit, officers noticed a holstered handgun on the motorcycle operator’s belt,” the report said.

The report said that officers from both departments followed Radle-Maxson for 17 minutes before he stopped in a residential area on the west side of Wasilla. 

That’s when, the report said, Radle-Maxson “attempted to retrieve the handgun from his waist.” Officers shot and fatally injured him. He died on the scene.

After investigating, law enforcement realized the gun Radle-Maxson had was a BB gun which, they say, was designed to look like a normal handgun. Troopers say the gun didn’t have an orange tip, which sometimes demarcates toy guns. 

The officers who shot Radle-Maxson weren’t injured. They were placed on administrative leave and their names will be released after 72 hours, per department policies. The Palmer and Wasilla Police Departments requested troopers investigate the shooting. 

Once the investigation is finished, the findings will be turned over to the Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions. 

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Lex Treinen is covering the state Legislature for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

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