2 dead, 2 wounded in Muldoon gunfire

Kyle Hopkins
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News

A shooting early Monday outside a Muldoon bar left two people dead and two injured, Anchorage police say. As of Monday evening, no one had been arrested in the killings. One of the men killed was a regular pool player at J.J.'s Lounge, co-owner Jerry Buffington told the Daily News. The man, whom Buffington identified as "Mario," had words with another patron before the shootings, he said.

"I don't know if you'd call it an argument or just an exchange of words. And then it escalated outside," Buffington said.

Several witnesses called 911 to report the shootings just south of Sixth Avenue on Muldoon Road, said Lt. Dave Parker, a police spokesman. When police arrived, they found two men dead. Detectives weren't ready Monday evening to say how many shooters they believe opened fire.

"We're thinking there are obviously more than one," Parker said.

One body was lying in the southbound lane of Muldoon. The other was in the area of the bar parking lot, near the glass door of the lounge.

Two other people, a man and a woman, were taken to the hospital for apparent gunshot wounds, Parker said.

"The male was shot in the arms and the female was taken into surgery immediately," Parker said.

Buffington said the injured woman was Mario's girlfriend.

She was in stable but critical condition, police said.

The man who survived the shooting also was a patron. He came back inside the bar bleeding profusely, the owner said. "One other guy was trying to tie his arm off."

The police spokesman did not know the male survivor's condition but said his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Police did not publicly identify any of the victims. While patrons and the bar owner knew one of the men as Mario, that was not his legal first name, said Isidoro Martinez, a friend who visited the scene of the shooting today.

Buffington said he has known Mario for eight to 10 years as a regular player in pool competitions at the bar.

Mario was at the lounge when Buffington left at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Soon, a bartender called the owner to report a problem. Someone at the bar had claimed Mario had a gun, Buffington said.

There was a heated exchange and possibly a threat, he said.

Buffington said he talked to Mario himself over the phone. "He says, 'I haven't got a gun on me. I wouldn't bring a gun into your bar,' " Buffington said.

"I says, 'Well if you do, take it out to your car.' "

Mario told him everything was OK, Buffington said.

Minutes later, the bartender called back. Mario and another man were dead.

"The next thing I know ... there's shots fired and there's bodies in the parking lot," said Buffington, who said he identified Mario's body for police.

Witnesses in and outside the bar reported the shots at 12:16 a.m., Parker said.

Sean Orsborn, who lives in a mobile home park directly across Muldoon Road from the bar, said he grabbed his daughter when he heard the gunfire.

Orsborn said he couldn't see the shooters but told his wife to turn the lights off as the rattle of gunshots continued. "We all laid on the floor and listened. ... There was probably about eight shots fired," he said.

A man who had been at a different bar just south on Muldoon, Club 210 East, said he checked the street after hearing the gunshots. He saw a man cradling one of the victims in the roadway. "Don't leave me, brother," the man was saying. The witness asked not to be identified because he feared retribution.

Several people fled the area on foot or in vehicles after the shooting, police said. In the hours after the killings, police had no suspects in custody but were interviewing several witnesses, Parker said.

"They're digging through all the witness statements and trying to pull all that together," he said.

Police closed Muldoon Road south of Sixth Avenue to traffic as they combed the area for the shooter or shooters. Officers carrying rifles and shotguns followed a police dog as they strode north along Muldoon hours after the shooting.

By 9 a.m., the road had been reopened to traffic.

It was unclear how many shooters were involved, or if the victims also fired weapons.

"(Detectives) are still looking for witnesses and suspects," Parker said.

Reporter Lisa Demer contributed. Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or email him at khopkins@adn.com.

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