Two burglary suspects shot at Big Lake church

Posted: Friday, April 25, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Two men were shot and killed Thursday in what Alaska State Troopers say was an attempted burglary at a Big Lake church.

Christopher Lee Palmer, 32, Big Lake, died at Big Lake Community Chapel. Francis Marion Jones IV, 23, Wasilla, was found dead at a nearby private home.

State Troopers would not identify the shooter, but said the person was affiliated with the chapel.

Troopers were called to Big Lake Community Chapel at about 5 a.m., said Capt. Dennis Casanovas.

The caller said someone affiliated with the chapel had interrupted a burglary and shot at two burglars.

The man found dead at the chapel was not immediately identified. Troopers said Palmer's name was determined through fingerprint comparisons conducted by technicians from the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory.

Troopers determined that the second suspect probably had fled in a small sedan.

At about 12:15 p.m., troopers received a 911 call from a woman who reported a male acquaintance had come to her home on Beaver Lake Road suffering from gunshot wounds. Troopers and Matanuska-Susitna Borough emergency medical service workers responded and found Jones dead.

Big Lake is an unincorporated community of about 3,000 on the shore of Big Lake, 13 miles southwest of Wasilla. High school students got to Houston.

Troopers were still at the shooting scene 12 hours after taking the first call. Casanovas said he expected investigators to be there several hours longer.

Casanovas said he did not know whether the chapel had been burglarized before.

A woman answering the phone at the chapel Thursday afternoon said she had been ordered not to give out information.

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