Brothers die in similar fashion six years apartThe man who died in a gunfight with Superior police Friday afternoon lost his brother six years ago in Alaska under similar circumstances.
By: By John Lundy and Andrew Krueger/Duluth News Tribune, Superior Telegram
The man who died in a gunfight with Superior police Friday afternoon lost his brother six years ago in Alaska under similar circumstances.
Superior police confirmed Saturday that Luke Daniel Anderson, 34, of Duluth died after a shootout Friday in the field behind Downtown Mobile Home Park, 409 N. 12th St. No officers or bystanders were hurt in the confrontation, said Police Chief Charles LaGesse during a news conference Saturday.
Anderson was the brother of Jason Karlo Jacob Anderson, who died in a shootout with police and federal marshals on March 1, 2006, in the Homer airport parking lot in Alaska.
Jason Anderson had been living under an alias, hiding out in Alaska, with his girlfriend and children for about a year after fleeing Minnesota where he was wanted on federal drug trafficking charges. His children were with him in the car at the time. He shot his own 2-year-old son during the confrontation and died of a self-inflicted wound, according to forensic reports.
Dean Deschampe Jr. of Duluth, a friend of both men, confirmed Luke and Jason were brothers.
Deschampe said Anderson was affected deeply by his older brother’s death, but didn’t say much about it.
“Luke was one of those guys that didn’t like to talk a lot about his feelings,” Deschampe said.
LaGesse said Anderson had no prior history with Superior police. According to Minnesota court records, Anderson was convicted three times on felony drug charges, most recently in 2005.
But Anderson was straightening out his life, said Deschampe. He didn’t have a job, but he was a full-time student in the second year of the auto technology program at Lake Superior College.
Anderson had three children by three different mothers, Deschampe said, and was frustrated about not being able to see them, he said.
Deschampe said he was shocked when he learned what had happened in Superior. Anderson had never been a violent man, Deschampe said, and he couldn’t believe he had held a gun to a woman’s face.
“That wasn’t him,” Deschampe said. “That wasn’t like him at all.”
Deschampe said he didn’t want people to judge Anderson based on the way his life ended — Anderson was a good and generous man, willingly share his possessions and money with friends.
But Anderson seemed to feel he had no one to turn to, Deschampe said.
Wayne Smith of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., said he was in a relationship with Luke and Jason’s mother for nearly 20 years, and the brothers called him their stepdad during that time. He last saw Luke about three years ago, he said.
“Until he got mixed up with the wrong crowd, he was a good kid,” Smith said of Luke Anderson.
Smith said Luke Anderson was a good carpenter, and loved hunting and fishing. He said both brothers were prone to mood swings.
“Their mood changes in a hurry, they both did,” Smith said. “They couldn’t control some things.”
Jason Anderson was 31 when he died in Alaska in 2006. Working on a tip, investigators had lured him to the Homer airport on the pretext of exchanging his rental Jeep, which had a broken windshield. Plainclothes federal marshals and Homer police waited in the terminal and planned to stun him with a Taser when he went to the rental counter, according to media reports at the time.
When Anderson arrived, he pulled up in the rental lot and called the agent on his cell phone, asking him to bring out the keys for the new car because he had his children with him. Officers then drove up on both sides of the Jeep. Police said Anderson pulled out a handgun, prompting the shootout.
Cherry Dietzmann, the mother of the 2-year-old boy and 6-month-old girl —uninjured in the shootout — was living with Jason in Alaska; she now lives near Ely. She told the News Tribune she knew Luke Anderson for the better part of a decade.
Luke Anderson was in prison when his brother died, she said, and after he was released, he made efforts to get to know his brother’s children.
“Luke was different after he got out of prison,” Dietzmann said, adding the incarceration played a role, but “his brother’s death had a lot to do with it. (And) he was real distraught over what happened to my son.
“He would drink, and get really drunk, and say things like, ‘maybe I should just go out like my brother,’” said Dietzmann.
She said she last talked to Luke last summer. She said he “could be so sweet” and loved his children, but at some point, she tried to distance herself from the situation.
“He would just snap at times, and I had a hard time dealing with it,” she said.
Dietzmann’s son, who has made some progress but remains unable to talk or walk because of the shooting, lives at a foster home in the Twin Ports area. Dietzmann said she spoke to the child’s foster mother after Luke paid a visit to her son on Valentine’s Day.
“She said he was melancholy, and sad, and he said he could rest easy knowing my son was taken care of,” Dietzmann said.
She said it seemed, to her, that he was saying goodbye.
News Tribune night city editor Jaime DeLage contributed to this report.