FAIRBANKS — Alaska Peacemakers Militia leader Schaeffer Cox helped resolve a tense situation Wednesday night between Alaska State Troopers and a man accused of threatening his neighbor with a BB gun.
Troopers were called to 10 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road just after 6:45 p.m. after Darrel Harpham reported being threatened by his 62-year-old neighbor, Bradley Keith Baker.
Harpham heard an alarm going off at Baker’s home, and concerned about Baker’s recent health problems, climbed Baker’s gate to check on him, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.
When Harpham met Baker, Baker confronted Harpham with what he described as a “large caliber, semi-automatic” pistol. Baker ordered Harpham to his knees and said said something about killing him. He then lowered the gun, and after “grabbing” for each other, Harpham was able to get back to his home and call troopers, according to charging documents.
The pistol later was found to be a .177 caliber BB pistol.
Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said at least two troopers showed up at Baker’s front gate. Cox said he saw five or six troopers, one of them carrying an M-16.
While Cox characterized the event as a standoff, Peters said the two-hour-long situation was much less tense.
“In his distressed state, (Baker) had an unreasonable expectation of what was going down,” Peters said.
While Harpham called troopers, Baker called Cox. Cox arrived at the home with four militia members, all the while staying on the phone with Baker.
Baker was yelling at troopers to go away and feared they were going to shoot him, Cox said.
“He was very worried about being hurt, which I can understand,” Cox said. “Often a peaceful officer is unable to, by his own virtue alone, overcome the predatory structure of the system, but in this instance, we needed to de-escalate and the militia was able to facilitate that.”
Cox, who said he only met Baker a couple times before Wednesday, was able to broker a deal for Cox and a trooper to go to Baker’s door and speak with him.
After speaking with Baker for a few minutes, he was placed under arrest, though Cox said he was able to keep Baker calm during the ordeal.
“The troopers were very cooperative with the militia and we reciprocated that,” Cox said.
Baker, who has no prior criminal record, was booked into Fairbanks Correctional Center on one count of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. He was released from jail Thursday. His arraignment is scheduled for this morning.
“Troopers had me held up in my house, and I didn’t feel safe, so I called Schaeffer Cox and his militia and things calmed down,” Baker said Thursday afternoon. He refused further comment on the case until he has been to court.