Nikiski man charged with attempted murder

A Nikiski man is charged with attempted murder after a standoff with Alaska State Troopers ended peacefully Thursday night.

According to a trooper report, officers responded to a 911 call from a 27-year-old woman stating her boyfriend, Joshua D. Saunders, 33, had strangled and punched her and was downstairs in their Miller Loop Road apartment.

The report alleges that when troopers arrived there was an “extensive” amount of blood on the woman’s clothing. The alleged victim was sent to Central Peninsula Hospital.

Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters said the woman’s injuries didn’t appear to be life threatening.

Troopers say Saunders ran from the apartment building, and they began to search the nearby woods. Authorities found Saunders about a half-mile from the apartment building, holding a knife. Police say that Saunders cut his arms numerous times and refused to put the knife down.

“He wasn’t fleeing,” Peters said. “He was pretty much staying put at that point. We also recognized pretty quickly that he didn’t want to be taken into custody.”

Special Emergency Reaction Team members responded to the scene as wells as crisis negotiators.

“(He) did attempt to charge at troopers a couple times with the knife,” Peters said. “Essentially, it appears he was trying to do a ‘suicide by cop.’ He was attempting to illicit a violent reaction from troopers, but were able to deal with it without having to go to that next level.”

After 45 minutes to an hour, Peters said, negotiators were able convince Saunders to throw the knife into the woods so troopers could take him into custody.

Saunders was treated at Central Peninsula Hospital for his self-inflicted injuries. He remains in custody at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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