2 teens shot to death in suspected home robbery

POLICE: Intruders tried to force occupant to open safe; he got gun and fired.

Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 10, 2011 

Two teenagers are dead after they were shot by a man who said they forced their way into his East Anchorage home early Thursday and tried to rob him, according to police. Police announced Thursday afternoon that two other suspects in the robbery had been arrested.

The occupant of the home, Larry James, 55, told police he fired shots at two men who entered his home, said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said.

Two 19-year-old Anchorage men who died from the gunshots were later identified as Maurice T.R. Johnson and Joseph Trantham, police said.

Later Thursday, police arrested two others they say were involved in the robbery. They are Brian Pfister, 18, and Ursula Pico, 21, both of Anchorage, police said.

James called 911 at 12:23 a.m. and said he'd shot at two men who broke into his home, police said. Police listed James' address as 705 Muldoon Road, which is the Rangeview mobile home park.

"Responding officers learned that two males entered James' home, at least one of whom was armed with a handgun, and assaulted him, injuring his face," Parker's statement said. "They forced James to his room to open his safe but James produced a handgun and fired shots at the intruders."

In an interview Thursday, Parker said police are not yet releasing details of what they believe was in the safe or what type of handgun James fired.

Trantham was found unconscious outside the home with a handgun, and Johnson was found collapsed at a nearby Tesoro gas station, Parker said.

Both appeared to have been shot in the torso and were taken to local hospitals, where they died, Parker said. Parker said it was unclear whether the men were shot in the front or back of their torsos. A medical examiner was scheduled to conduct autopsies on their bodies later in the day, he said.

According to witnesses, the two would-be robbers were shot inside the home, Parker said. The police spokesman said James appeared to be the only witness, aside from the robbery suspects, inside the home at the time.

James was also taken to a hospital, though his injuries were not considered life-threatening, the police spokesman said.

Pfister and Pico are scheduled for arraignment today on charges of robbery, burglary, assault and conspiracy. Pico was also charged with tampering with physical evidence, according to police.