Alaska police are investigating the mysterious death of newly elected Juneau mayor Stephen “Greg” Fisk after he was found dead inside his Alaska home on Monday. Fisk, 70, mayor of the state’s capital city for less than two months, was found collapsed on the floor of his home by his adult son Ian. He promptly called 9-1-1 at around 3:30 p.m., but Fisk was pronounced dead on the scene. The exact circumstances of his death are still under investigation.
Word of Fisk’s death has spread quickly and prompted rumors that he was murdered or assaulted. Police did not immediately say if foul play was suspected, stating rumors of an assault were mere speculation and that they will wait on the results of the autopsy before announcing an official cause of death. The autopsy report is scheduled for Wednesday. Crowds of the residents of Juneau’s Starr Hill neighborhood gathered outside his home to light candles in his honor.
“It is not clear yet if the injuries are due to an accident or other trauma,” police said to CNN.
The mayor had no gunshot wounds, and there was no apparent evidence of a drug overdose or suicide. There was also no sign of forced entry. Next-door neighbors Don and Janet Kussart, who live so closely to Fisk’s home that they can hear doors slam, did not hear any disturbance or signs of assault. KTOO, a non-profit radio news source from Juneau, reported that the Juneau Police Department said Fisk had injuries on his body but did not elaborate on the extent, nature, or severity of these injuries.
It is unknown how long Fisk had been dead by the time he was found by his son. His body was discovered after he failed to answer his phone.
Juneau Police Department Chief Bryce Johnson assured everyone that the details of the investigation would be released as they are found.
“I think the community deserves to know what happened and to have it investigated properly,” Johnson said. “As soon as we know, we’ll let everyone else know.”
Fisk defeated incumbent candidate Merrill Sanford in a landslide victory with 66 percent of the votes, nearly double that of his opponent. He campaigned on a platform of diversifying Alaska’s economy, and was also known for his long history of working for settlements on land claims for Alaska Natives and First Nations in Canada. He was sworn into office on October 20 and was elected to serve until October 2018.
Governor of Alaska Bill Walker offered condolences to Fisk’s family on Twitter.
Scheduled city meetings for the night were cancelled. Deputy Mayor Mary Becker has been named to fill Fisk’s role as acting mayor until a special election can be held to find a permanent replacement. She called the late mayor a great man and stated that the news had been devastating to the city and to the members of the assembly.
“We’re all in this sadness together and we will make it through and the city will continue to run,” Becker said. “We have a wonderful staff, an assembly that works well together and we’ll continue to do what we need to do, we’re just sad right now.”
Maria Gladziszewski, another member of the assembly, remembered Fisk fondly.
“It’s just a huge loss for the community. He was only newly elected, and he had so many ideas and a lot of energy. He was on his way to becoming a great mayor.”
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)