Woman asleep in Anchorage apartment survives gunshot that came through the wall

nherz@adn.comJuly 13, 2013 

Thongphoune Inthirath, 58 (in blue), gestures to an Anchorage Police Department officer after a bullet destroyed the rear window and windshield of his Mazda van early Saturday morning, July 13, 2013. His son Jonathan Inthirath, 21, is in the white sweatshirt.

NATHANIEL HERZ — Anchorage Daily News

A woman sleeping with her husband and 1-year-old daughter survived a shot through the knee early Saturday morning when a bullet came through the wall of their second-floor apartment in Mountain View.

Police said there was some sort of disturbance in the street outside and later found 11 shell casings. But by Saturday evening, it was still unclear what exactly happened, no one was in custody and police were asking anyone with information to come forward.

The woman was treated at a local hospital and released after four hours with no broken bones, said her 37-year-old husband, who asked that their names not be published because he fears retaliation.

Police said they received a 911 call around 4 a.m. Saturday from a woman who reported hearing gunshots on North Klevin Street following a dispute between three young men.

A neighbor said in an interview Saturday that he heard many shots fired."I lost count after 12," said David Thompson, 51, a building superintendent who lives nearby.

Five minutes later, police said, they received a call from the victim's husband reporting she had been shot.

The woman, her husband said, had been asleep in their apartment, at the intersection of North Klevin and Peterkin Avenue. She was on the side of the bed closest to the street, with her husband on the other side, and their daughter between them.

"When I turned on the light, she was bloody everywhere. But we didn't know it was a shot -- I thought she cut herself. When I started looking to see, where was the cut, I saw this little hole in her knee," he said. "And the bullet was on top of my bed."

He said he left his daughter with his brother-in-law, who shares the apartment, then started driving his wife to the hospital, but was stopped by police a few blocks away she was transferred to an ambulance.

Anchorage Police Department Spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said in a phone interview Saturday afternoon that there were no suspects in the case. She said police had collected 11 shell casings from the scene.

She said in an email to news media that witnesses in the area had reported seeing a dark jeep and white car driving on North Klevin Street just before the shooting. Police are asking anyone with information about the case to submit anonymous tips to 561-STOP.

A neighbor said a bullet destroyed the windshield and rear window of a van parked on North Klevin Street.

Thongphoune Inthirath, 58, said in an interview that his wife awoke him after hearing the gunshots early Saturday. He said he went back to sleep after checking on his wife and daughter, then left his house at 11:30 a.m. to go to his part-time job at FedEx and discovered the damage to his Mazda van.

"'Oh God, how can I go to work?' That's what I thought," said Inthirath, who was still at his house at 2:30 p.m., waiting to submit a report to police.

Area residents said that crime in their neighborhood was typically concentrated around a dirt road just west of North Klevin that they refer to as "Crack Alley." Jolene Ravithis, 51, also recalled the double homicide that occurred on North Bragaw Street a few blocks away, in May.

"I already told my kids, 'it's in my backyard,'" said Ravithis, who lives on North Klevin Street near where the shooting took place. "Now it's in my front yard."

After returning home from the hospital on Saturday, the man whose wife was shot says that she is now afraid to sleep in their bedroom. She asked him to move their bed to the living room, and to arrange their couches to ward off more gunshots.

The family moved into their apartment in November, and bought it in January; now they want to leave the neighborhood as soon as possible.

"If I have the money, believe me, I'd move in a heartbeat," the husband said.

He said that he doesn't know how the family will be able to pay for his wife's trip to the hospital, which included an X-ray, a CAT Scan, and "a whole bunch of tests." "I know I hope they get these damn bastards and make them pay," he said. "Right now I'm stuck with a huge bill, and I don't know what to do."

Reach Nathaniel Herz at nherz@adn.com or 257-4311.

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