Family says man shot by troopers was disabled

Posted: Monday, January 06, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The man who was shot and killed by a state trooper Saturday near Soldotna was disabled and couldn't have responded quickly to a trooper's demand that he get out of his car, a family member said.

The man killed, Casey G. Porter, 30, also of Nikiski, had broken his neck and his back in a car wreck last August and he had been using a cane to help operate the clutch of his car, said Brando Wik of Nikiski. Wik was Porter's uncle.

''If they would have given Casey time, I'm sure he could have'' gotten out, Wik said. ''His right leg was spastic. It would just shake real hard.''

Troopers identified the trooper who shot Porter as Arthur J. Osborn, 26, of Seward.

The shooting occurred at a pullout on the Sterling Highway, where Osborn and trooper Joseph Whittom had gone in separate cars to investigate a report of a suspicious blue sedan about 2 a.m. Saturday.

Porter was sitting in the sedan. He refused to get out as ordered, so after a warning, a trooper sprayed him with pepper spray. Porter then accelerated his car toward Whittom, troopers said.

Osborn fired his 9 mm Glock pistol into the car and hit Porter, who died at the scene.

Wik said he doesn't think it had to happen that way.

The troopers' story ''just sounds so weak. I think they didn't have to shoot Casey. They could have disabled the vehicle.''

Troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said that even if Porter couldn't get out of the car quickly, that doesn't explain his accelerating toward the patrol car. ''The trooper believed the other trooper's life was in danger.''

Wilkinson said all of the facts aren't available yet.

''Something obviously escalated this situation rapidly. We'll just have to wait until the investigation is completed.''

Osborn and Whittom were placed on three days' administrative leave with pay after the shooting. Investigators were still examining the scene and Porter's car Sunday.

State records show Porter had a long list of criminal offenses, including being a minor in possession of alcohol and resisting arrest.

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