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Alaska man resists chemicals in 2-day standoff but surrenders to bulldozer

Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska- A state trooper partially bulldozed a trailer home to compel an armed man inside to surrender, more than two days after he barricaded himself there.

Donald B. Voorhis had withstood hours of having chemical irritants forced into his home - to the surprise of authorities - but he was arrested Sunday night after the small bulldozer ripped open one side of his home near Talkeetna, about 80 miles north of Anchorage.

Voorhis, who is accused of threatening a neighbor, had exchanged gunfire with authorities during the standoff, which troopers said began Friday when he pointed a rifle at an officer attempting to arrest him on a felony warrant.

Two of Voorhis' relatives and a mental health physician had joined negotiators in urging him to surrender, but he refused, authorities said.

On Saturday and Sunday troopers introduced irritants including pepper spray and tear gas into Voorhis' home, but the chemicals did not drive him out, said trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson. He added that there were indications that Voorhis had hung blankets and taken other measures to protect himself from the gas.

"Law enforcement personnel on scene who are familiar with the deployment of these irritants were amazed at his ability to withstand them for so long," Wilkinson said.

Troopers said Voorhis, 49, and officers exchanged fire Sunday afternoon; no one was hurt. Authorities resorted to the bulldozer that night, after an attempt to penetrate the trailer with a stream of high-pressure water failed.

The trooper operating the bulldozer scraped open the side of the trailer, keeping the blade up for protection, authorities said. No shots were fired as the home was torn open and Voorhis was not hurt; troopers said they found a rifle next to him when they arrested him.

After being examined at a hospital for possible injuries from the chemical exposure, Voorhis was jailed at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility and was to be arraigned Monday.

A neighbor accuses Voorhis of pointing a rifle at him Wednesday and firing a round while standing next to the neighbor's vehicle. Voorhis also was wanted on three misdemeanor warrants for missing court dates.

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