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Police sift evidence in shooting death of girl at Muldoon party

Elizabeth Bluemink

Anchorage police continued to investigate the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old girl at a raucous Muldoon party early Sunday morning but they had not made arrests or named any suspects as of Monday evening.

Police finished collecting evidence at the crime scene -- a public housing duplex on the 8000 block of East 36th Avenue owned by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. -- on Monday, and were still sifting through evidence and interviewing witnesses on Monday afternoon, said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.

In addition to investigating the homicide, police will also try to determine whether any adults illegally served alcohol to teenagers at the party. That's a misdemeanor, but it becomes a felony if an underage person commits a crime attributable to the illegal serving of alcohol, he said.

The shooting victim, Desirae Douglas, died shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, struck by at least one bullet in a series of gunshots from vehicles parked in the neighborhood. She was shot outside the duplex whose renters were hosting the party. Neighbors said they heard arguing outside the duplex about 45 minutes before the gunfire.

Alaska Housing officials said Monday they are investigating whether the duplex tenants violated their lease. If so, they could be evicted. But first, the tenants would have a right to defend themselves in court, said Cathy Stone, AHFC director of housing operations.

Neighbors said they began complaining to police about loud gatherings at the duplex about a year ago. They said they called police before the shooting to ask them to break up Sunday's loud party.

Alaska Housing property manager Vickie Snelgrove said she also has received verbal complaints about loud noise and partying at the duplex, but no one filed a written report -- a trigger for opening an investigation.

Alaska Housing's lease agreements prohibit any criminal activity and disrupting neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises, but the agency doesn't do its own policing.

One neighbor said Monday that based on what she heard from Alaska Housing, she got the impression that filing a written complaint would be pointless.

She was upset that police did not arrive to break up the party and didn't send any units until after the shooting.

The police department prioritizes its cases and was unusually busy that night, investigating two assaults with weapons, two rapes and a drunken driving case, said Parker, the police spokesman.

Snelgrove, who manages 168 properties for Alaska Housing, said she tells tenants to call police about any disturbances during the night. She said the agency does provide a 24-hour, 7-day-per-week emergency number, but it's only for property maintenance problems.

Find Elizabeth Bluemink online at adn.com/contact/ebluemink or call 257-4317.


By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK
ebluemink@adn.com