Good Shoot or Bad Shoot?


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Wildalaska
April 26, 2003, 12:54 AM
Big Lake pastor kills 2 men robbing chapel, troopers say
INVESTIGATION: Area has suffered winter's worth of break-ins.

By ZAZ HOLLANDER
Anchorage Daily News

(Published: April 25, 2003)
BIG LAKE -- A church pastor shot and killed two men he caught burglarizing his small chapel early Thursday morning, Alaska State Troopers said.

The pastor, whom troopers identified as Phillip Mielke, shot the men with a handgun, according to investigators still at the scene more than 12 hours later.

Troopers identified the two dead men as Christopher Lee Palmer, 31, of Big Lake and Francis Marion Jones IV, 23, of Wasilla.

Troopers declined to say whether the two dead men were armed or whether they were shot while inside or outside Big Lake Community Chapel.

A handful of locals interviewed Thursday cheered the shooting, saying it capped off a winter of unsolved break-ins and vandalism around this lakeside community of scattered residences.

A caller to 911 in Palmer around 5 a.m. Thursday told a dispatcher that he "shot at two people, possibly hit them both during a B&E," according to troopers' dispatch logs. The caller told dispatchers that a vehicle left the scene.

Palmer died at the chapel, a humble structure with a small congregation. Troopers and Mat-Su emergency responders found his body outside on the lawn.

Thursday evening, several bright yellow evidence markers and a metal detector were visible a few paces from the church's front door and some daffodils growing at the steps.

Jones apparently fled to a friend's home on Beaver Lake Road, a few miles away, troopers said. Investigators surmised Jones most likely managed to leave immediately after the shooting in a small sedan before officers arrived. Troopers found him dead shortly after noon after responding to a 911 call from a woman who reported a male friend had come to her house suffering from gunshot wounds.

Autopsies on both men are scheduled for today, said troopers Capt. Dennis Casanovas.

Troopers will consult with the district attorney's office during the investigation, said Sgt. Dallas Massie. The district attorney generally decides whether a shooting is justified and whether to file charges.

Mielke was not available for comment. A woman who answered the chapel's phone said she did not want to answer questions.

"We just want to keep this quiet right now," she said.

Mielke lives across South Big Lake Road from the church and probably rushed over when he saw headlights pull up, said Helme Blank, 69, a Big Lake resident for the last 47 years who takes her granddaughter to Friday game nights at the chapel.

Blank expressed bafflement as to why anyone would break into the chapel.

"That's got to be the smallest church in the Valley. There's maybe 50 of them," she said. "That's why they call 'em poor as church mice."

The red of an old schoolhouse, the chapel sits just down the road from Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and across Fish Creek from the Big Lake Motel. Patrons inside the motel's Hangar Lounge on Thursday evening said the two men got what they deserved, an opinion shared by several others who basically saw the shooting as God's wrath.

A number of Big Lake residents described frayed nerves over the winter break-ins that hit a number of homes across this unincorporated community of about 3,000.

Bill O'Hara said he got a call Tuesday from one neighbor who thought a bear got on her roof but instead found a man up there scoping out the house.

"She grabbed a shotgun and racked a shell," said O'Hara, the Big Lake Community Council president. "This person hit the ground running."

The burglars mostly struck weekend homes that were empty during the week, he said. Burglars at one house kicked in the door and stole $50,000 worth of items, even the trash compactor.

Blank said authorities know there are one or two gangs of vandals in the area. Last week, somebody kicked holes in the sheetrock of a newly finished home, she said. Wednesday night, somebody at the same site stole tools from crews repairing the damage.

"If there was a burglary in progress, they had the right to shoot them," Blank said of what happened at the chapel. "We had so many break-ins and vandalism out here this winter. They're not going to stop until somebody gets killed."

Reporter Zaz Hollander can be reached at zhollander@adn.com

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blades67
April 26, 2003, 01:14 AM
If they threatened him, it was a good shoot.

buttrap
April 26, 2003, 01:24 AM
Well I would think Alaska is a bit like Oregon. Breaking and entry if its a building you are in is a legal shoot. Also suspected acts of B&E. Its sure not New Jersey or NY.

El Rojo
April 26, 2003, 11:28 AM
Not enough info. Depends on local laws. I know a few people will say that "dead men can't sue." Unfortunately their families can.

Chipperman
April 26, 2003, 12:22 PM
He got two Big things going for him:
1. He's in Alaska
2. He's a Man O' the Cloth

He'll be fine.

stevelyn
April 26, 2003, 12:52 PM
Legally, not enough details to make a determination.

Personally, do enough stupid things and Darwin will catch you in the act sooner or later. If one digs deep enough into the departeds' backgrounds, it will probably reveal they have been engaged in this type of high risk activity for a long time and were overdue.

Speculation, the good reverend shows up, miscreants identify him as same and attempts assault to cover getaway, miscalculates the good reverend's resolve defend himself due to his position "thinking he'll just turn the other cheek", and get their tickets punched for a one-way trip across the River Styx.

Keith
April 26, 2003, 01:34 PM
Follow-up with some legal definitions:



Family of man shot by pastor struggles to understand why
CHAPEL: Burglary suspects were from Big Lake, Wasilla.

Big Lake Community Chapel on South Big Lake Road was the scene of a shooting Thursday morning. The church pastor shot and killed two men he caught burglarizing the chapel, Alaska State Troopers said. (Photo by Stephen Nowers / Anchorage Daily News)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Chris Palmer ( )

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Click on photo to enlarge

By ZAZ HOLLANDER
Anchorage Daily News

(Published: April 26, 2003)
Chris Palmer's family spent Friday trying to figure out how he ended up dead near the Big Lake Community Chapel.

The 31-year-old Big Lake man and 23-year-old Francis M. Jones IV of Wasilla died of gunshot wounds Thursday after the chapel's pastor interrupted them burglarizing the small church and shot them, Alaska State Troopers said.

The Rev. Phil Mielke called 911 around 5 a.m. to say he had shot at two intruders.

Palmer died in a strip of birch trees just past the chapel's tidy lawn. Jones died within hours at a house on Beaver Lake Road where he had fled.

Members of Palmer's family gathered Friday at his mother's home in Sutton, said Teri Fischer, Palmer's sister. The family is struggling to reconcile the fact that her brother thought to rob a church, and then was shot by a pastor, Fischer said.

"It's just that a house of God should be a place where people in my brother's situation should go for help," Fischer said.

Palmer struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for years, and had sporadic contact with his family, including his three sons, his sister said. His oldest son turns 14 today. His youngest son lives in California and never met his father.

The only reason her brother would rob a church at dawn would be to buy drugs, Fischer said.

"My mother's initial reaction was the man was protecting what was his," she said. "The more we hear, I don't know."

Palmer's stepfather, Jim Novak, said 14-year-old Adam Palmer questions why some people in Big Lake seem to assume that because his dad broke into the church, he also is responsible for other local burglaries.

On Thursday, a number of locals expressed frustration with a series of break-ins and vandalism over the winter. Since the shootings, the pastor and his family have received numerous sympathetic phone calls from Big Lake residents, said Helen Mielke, his wife.

"The phone has been ringing," she said. "We just appreciate there's a lot of support from the community."

Neither she nor her husband would discuss the shootings further. Troopers Capt. Dennis Casanovas would not say whether Palmer and Jones were inside the church when they were shot or if they were armed.

Casanovas did say that Palmer "had exited the chapel," according to a description he received from investigators. "He actually made it into some woods nearby and almost to a roadway. He ultimately fell there."

He said he expected the investigation to last several weeks.

Once finished, the troopers will send their report to the Palmer District Attorney's office. The DA will decide whether the shooting was justified.

Alaska statute defines the use of deadly force during a burglary as justified "when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it is necessary to terminate what the person reasonably believes to be a burglary ... occurring in an occupied dwelling or building."

If the pastor was in the chapel, his presence would mean it was occupied, according to Mary Ann Henry, supervisor of the violent crimes unit in the Anchorage District Attorney's Office.

Henry would not comment on the specifics of the case. A person could be justified in shooting an unarmed burglar, she said. The burglar wouldn't have to be inside the premises.

"It's just necessary (a person) reasonably believed that shooting them was necessary in order to stop a burglary," she said.

Roman Kalytiak, the Palmer district attorney, said his office had approved a search warrant request for the church, but otherwise has had minimal involvement with the case so far.

His office two years ago prosecuted a Wasilla man who fired at a pair of burglary suspects.

Kevin M. Monson, then 33, spotted a man stealing from a van parked outside his home. The man and a second suspect fled in their van.

Monson pursued the pair and cornered them on a dead-end road. He stepped out of his vehicle with a shotgun and attempted to stop them. The van drove past Monson and he fired, shattering the rear window.

Monson resumed the chase and caught up with the men when the van ran out of gas. Troopers received a call and found Monson holding the men at gunpoint.

Prosecutors charged Monson with third-degree assault, a felony. In a plea agreement, Monson pleaded no contest to reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to six months probation.

coonan357
April 26, 2003, 01:45 PM
Rule number one! don't mess with God He brought you into this world he will take you back out of it .

Keith
April 26, 2003, 01:50 PM
>>>>Alaska statute defines the use of deadly force during a burglary as justified "when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it is necessary to terminate what the person reasonably believes to be a burglary ... occurring in an occupied dwelling or building."

If the pastor was in the chapel, his presence would mean it was occupied, according to Mary Ann Henry, supervisor of the violent crimes unit in the Anchorage District Attorney's Office.

Henry would not comment on the specifics of the case. A person could be justified in shooting an unarmed burglar, she said. The burglar wouldn't have to be inside the premises.

"It's just necessary (a person) reasonably believed that shooting them was necessary in order to stop a burglary," she said.<<<<

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Burglars take note! I don't think Alaska law squares up very well against most other state laws where a threat to life must be involved. I like it!

Oleg Volk
April 26, 2003, 02:53 PM
Darwin will catch you

Talk about mixing evolution and creationism -- using a priest to darwinate a goblin!

Crimper-D
April 26, 2003, 03:49 PM
Thanks Oleg! I just found a useful addition to my vocabulary:D :D :D :evil:

Darrin
April 26, 2003, 04:15 PM
There's a Church here in Middle TN where not only does the pastor carry, but so does the assistant pastor and 3 deacons.

It's a small (black/African American/whatever) Church. Last year they had 3 threats of arson and 1 threat of "something bad" agaisnt them. One was signed with "KKK" :rolleyes: for an attempt on last Holloween. They spread out in the parking lot with radios and wait every time. Nothing has happened yet, but they won't take chances!

Don't mess with a Church!

Standing Wolf
April 26, 2003, 05:55 PM
I've got cigarette butts in ash trasys that are worth more than the life of anyone who breaks into my house.

Azrael256
April 26, 2003, 06:25 PM
Chris Palmer's family spent Friday trying to figure out how he ended up dead near the Big Lake Community Chapel. Ok, here's the deal... your boy comitted a crime, and got killed while doing it. Shall I draw a diagram?

Autolite
April 26, 2003, 09:30 PM
Dead + Thieves = Good Shoot

Blackhawk
April 26, 2003, 10:12 PM
Good shoot.

LostOneToo
April 26, 2003, 10:23 PM
2 less scuim-bags in the world, sounds like a good shoot to me.:D

TexasVet
April 26, 2003, 10:34 PM
--------------------------------------------------------Chris Palmer's family spent Friday trying to figure out how he ended up dead near the Big Lake Community Chapel.


Palmer struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for years
--------------------------------------------------------

DUH! Scumbag, junkie thief dies while commiting a felony, family asks "what happened?"
:banghead:

Byron Quick
April 26, 2003, 11:38 PM
Sounds like a good shoot under Alaska law unless the DA is having a torturous reasoning day.

PDshooter
April 27, 2003, 01:45 PM
If that had happened in Illinois!
Man of the cloth would be in JAIL!!!

Held without bail!.......

Tim Burke
April 27, 2003, 05:29 PM
if I am on the jury.

foghornl
April 28, 2003, 02:25 PM
Good Guys 2
The Slime 0


Good Shoot

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