Teen charged with firing blanks at passing motorist

Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- A Nikiski teen-ager was charged with assault Saturday after firing blank cartridges at a vehicle from the window of a pickup truck near Sterling.

Five juveniles were in the pickup truck.

''They were just lucky that the nobody in that car they shot at was packing heat,'' said Alaska State Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson. ''They could have had their butts blown away.''

Sgt. Sonny Sabala said a Nikiski man was driving south at about 9 p.m. near Mile 64 Sterling Highway when a Dodge pickup overtook his vehicle and passed him.

He said a boy leaned out of the window, pointed the gun and fired several times.

''There was no reason for the driver to suspect that the gun wasn't real,'' Wilkinson said. ''Those blanks are loud, and the fire comes blasting out of the muzzle. Think what might have happened to those dummies if someone in that car had owned a real gun.''

The pickup truck with the youths pulled over and allowed the man and his two passengers to pass. The youths then pulled onto the highway, caught up to the man again, and the shooter fired a second time.

The juveniles then drove away at a high speed toward Soldotna.

Sabala and Trooper Joe Whittom caught up to the Dodge near Mile 92.

They found a handgun in the vehicle. All five juveniles identified it as the weapon used in the incident.

The 17-year-old Nikiski boy who fired the weapon was charged with three counts of assault and turned over to juvenile authorities.

The driver of the pickup, a 16-year-old Nikiski boy, was cited for negligent driving. Three other teen-age passengers were not charged.

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