Talkeetna resident Samuel Clark, age 40, was arraigned in Palmer Court this past weekend and charged with murder in the first degree. Clark is accused of killing Talkeetna resident Dirk Fast at the Latitude 62 Lodge in Talkeetna on Friday evening.
Investigator in the case, Ron Hayes, stated in the charging documents that Clark spoke about the incident at the bar and said that Dirk Fast was acting “fishy” toward him. The 2 knew each other and were having a conversation about Clark moving to Missouri. Clark said Fast got fidgety and pulled out his cellphone. Clark said he thought Fast was pulling a weapon and he said “I pulled out the f… pistol and shot him” – . Clark indicated he meant to shoot and kill Fast.
Bartender Ruby Fortner in her statement said she heard the gunshot and looked up to see Fast fall to the floor and hear Clark say “the f…r killed my family”. She described the conversation that Clark and Fast had had earlier as friendly.
She also said that Clark was not drinking alcohol. Most of the concert goers in the room next to the bar have described the scene that night as traumatic and frightening. As the one single shot was heard, people said their thoughts varied from champagne cork to an accident in the kitchen…until the sound sunk in.
Witnesses gave a description of Clark’s vehicle to Troopers and both Wildlife Trooper Dan Valentine and Talkeetna Trooper Terrence Shanigan responded separately to the call for help. They spotted a vehicle with the description given to them at milepost 6.5 of the Spur Road just 15 minutes after dispatch contacted them.
They conducted a traffic stop and the sole occupant identified himself as Samuel Clark. Shanigan reported seeing a rifle and handgun in plain view sitting inside the vehicle. Clark was wearing a shoulder holster with no gun, however, he had two fully loaded .45 caliber handgun magazines in the holster.
The troopers report there was one bullet wound to Fast’s chest without an exit wound. Investigators found one spent .45 caliber casing underneath the table where witnesses said Fast and Clark were sitting. No weapons were located on Fast’s body or in his personal vehicle.
Fast was pronounced dead at the scene by Talkeetna EMS.
Clark is being held on $500,000 bail with an additional requirement of a third party custodian.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 9th in Palmer in the courtroom of Judge Eric Smith.