A Kenai man has been charged with felony assault following a Sunday morning standoff in which Alaska State Troopers.
Troopers arrested Todd Bashaw, 45, after a six-hour encounter involving at least eight officers, including a State Parks Ranger, and a Bearcat tactical response vehicle. Troopers say he brandished a shotgun and revolver at people who stopped to help him when he stopped his car in the middle of the Sterling Highway near Ninilchik.
Bashaw gave himself up and put down his weapons after troopers fired tear gas into his vehicle. Troopers closed the highway until a little after 12:30 p.m. when they opened one lane of traffic.
Except for minor injuries to Bashaw, no one else was injured in the incident, and no shots were fired.
The incident began around 6:20 a.m. on Dec. 2 when troopers received reports of a green Toyota 4-Runner SUV stopped with its lights off in the northbound lane of the Sterling Highway near milepost 131. According to a criminal complaint, at 6:40 a.m., people in two cars pulled up to the Toyota — its windows were fogged over. Three men got out to investigate. One man said he saw the silhouette of what looked to be a rifle barrel.
Another man also said he saw what looked like a rifle being waved and a person inside waving a revolver, according to complaint documents. All three men retreated. One man told troopers he thought the Toyota driver was going to get out and start shooting. One witness also had a sidearm and unholstered his weapon. He said the Toyota driver screamed something but wasn’t coherent. All three men got back into their cars and drove away to safety.
In a phone interview on Sunday, Alaska State Trooper Capt. Maurice Hughes, of the E Detachment in Soldotna, said troopers responded at about 6:50 a.m. and saw that Bashaw was armed. They attempted to contact him, but backed off when Basahw became uncommunicative.
Troopers then brought in a Bearcat tactical response vehicle, or TRV, an armored truck that allowed troopers to get in closer to the man so they could talk to Bashaw safely. Hughes said Bashaw seemed to be having some sort of crisis.
Troopers were unable to talk the man into coming out of his car.
“That didn’t work,” Hughes said. “We deployed gas into the vehicle … He put his weapons down. We took him into custody.”
Troopers arrested the man about 12:15 p.m.
Hughes said the man had blood on his hands, but he didn’t know how the man had been injured. Ninilchik Emergency Service medics treated the man at the scene and took him to Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna.
Following further investigation, and after getting a search warrant, troopers found a Benelli shotgun and a Smith & Wesson .44 magnum revolver in the Toyota. Troopers determined Bashaw had been staying with a Ninilchik man. Troopers contacted the man and he told troopers he was missing two firearms — the ones found in Bashaw’s car. Troopers charged Bashaw with second-degree theft for allegedly taking the weapons.
They also charged Bashaw with three counts of third-degree assault for waving the weapons, four counts of reckless endangerment for being parked in the road with no working lights and putting at risk four people who stopped to assist him, and one count of disorderly conduct for engaging in conduct which caused the the highway to be closed.
Bashaw is in custody at Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai.
Reach Michael Armstrong at email@example.com.