A teenage girl was shot and killed at a raucous street party in south Muldoon early Sunday morning.
Anchorage police identified the girl as 17-year-old Desirae Douglas. She died shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday when struck at least once in a burst of shots fired from vehicles in front of a row of duplexes in the 8000 block of East 36th Avenue as neighbors took cover in their homes.
More than a dozen hours later, homicide investigators were still working the scene, collecting evidence from lawns, driveways and in the parking lot of a church across the street, and interviewing people in the neighborhood. No one had been arrested and no one was in custody.
The victim's body was removed from one of the duplexes and taken into a medical examiner's van shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday night.
Lt. Dave Parker, a police spokesman, said the shooting occurred outside the home, but that people who were there apparently brought Douglas inside. She was dead when police arrived, he said. Douglas did not live in the neighborhood but was one of many young people at the street party, Parker said.
Another young girl who lives nearby and said she was an acquaintance of Douglas described her as "a sweet girl." Sunday afternoon, Kyree Bisconer, 14, and her 16-year-old sister, Kylee, comforted each other. They said they weren't at the party and they hadn't known Douglas well.
"She was young but she was a sweet girl," Kyree said.
Douglas' aunt told television station KTUU Channel 2 that the young woman had hoped to attend nursing school at University of Alaska Anchorage.
No one else is known to have been injured, but witnesses and neighbors said more than a dozen shots were fired and shattered glass from a vehicle window still glistened on the pavement at the entrance to one driveway Sunday afternoon.
Two couples who live nearby said loud, rowdy late-night parties on the street in front of their homes on 36th just east of Muldoon Road have become commonplace. They said they called repeatedly to complain about noise in the two hours before the shooting Sunday morning, but police did not respond until shots were fired.
Just the night before, noise complaint calls to police brought a patrol car within 20 minutes, they said. But not this time.
"They came speedily on Friday night" and broke up that party, one said. "But yesterday, from midnight up until 2, we were calling left and right."
The two couples have a total of five pre-school children. They were worried about them.
"You would think, multiple times calling APD, they could have sent one unit," one mother said. "They (the partiers) kept waking up my youngest, my 5-month-old," she said.
When the shots rang out, one couple said they took cover in their kitchen and behind a sofa.
The altercation apparently involved people in at least two vehicles, they said, describing them as a hatchback and what looked like a white, older model Lincoln. They said they saw one man standing on top of the Lincoln, with a handgun tucked into the waist of his pants.
It was loud: "Screaming, cussing, their music in their cars. They were running back and forth between our yards," one of the neighbors said.
At least 10 shots were fired at first, then another burst that sounded as if they came from a different weapon, the neighbors said. The Lincoln took off from the scene but was stopped by police about a block away, they said.
Parker, the police spokesman, said a white car was stopped by police on Pioneer Drive. Officers and a police dog did some tracking in that area, "but I don't know what became of all that," he said. Sunday afternoon, a police officer was photographing a park in that area as well.
The neighbors said police might have prevented the violence if they'd responded to the noise complaints sooner.
"I understand they're busy, but red flags should go up when two nights in a row you're calling on the same house," one mother said. "This could have been prevented. A girl's life might not have been like this if they would have ... come out and broken it up."
Parker said officers have to prioritize calls during any shift. Late Saturday and early Sunday morning was a very busy time, he said.
Between 9 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday, police fielded 228 calls for help, Parker said, including at least one sexual assault and a half-dozen other complaints about loud parties. As soon as reports came in that shots had been fired, the department scrambled units from all over the city, he said.
"You can only spread the (officers) so thin," Parker said. "It's just a function of the way we do business."
Police ask anyone with information about the shooting to contact them at 786-8900.