Police say a registered sex offender entered a Mountain View apartment through an unlocked window, killed an elderly couple and sexually assaulted their 2-year-old great-granddaughter in an apparently random attack Saturday.
The man, identified in court documents as 24-year-old Jerry Andrew Active, was taken into custody blocks away from the North Bragaw Street scene after a fight with the victims’ family members, who came home from taking their son to a movie to find their child assaulted and Touch Chea, 73, and Sorn Sreap, 71, dead .
Active was arraigned on charges of murder, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor and burglary at the Anchorage Jail courtroom Sunday.
A judge set his bail at $1.5 million after prosecutors called his alleged crimes chilling “beyond words” in their violence and random nature.
The father and grandson of the victims says he is left raw and reeling with anger.
“He took the old, the innocent,” said Von Seng. “Come face me.”
Seng and his wife had taken their 4-year-old son to see a movie at the Century 16 theater Saturday evening, he said Sunday.
When the family returned to the ground-level apartment they shared with Seng’s grandparents and great-grandmother at the Labnongsang Apartments just before 8 p.m. the door chain was locked. It would only open a few inches, enough for Seng to see a glimpse of his grandfather Touch Chea, 73, and grandmother Sorn Sreap, 71, on the floor.
For a moment he thought he was seeing some kind of a bad joke.
“I wanted to have hope and faith,” he said.
But Sreap was nude from the waist down, Seng said.
He screamed at his wife to call police and broke the large window facing the alleyway to get inside.
Accounts of what happened next are imprecise.
Seng says he stormed through the house in a panic, finding his 2-year-old daughter and his 90-year-old great-grandmother, who has dementia.
There was also a partially clothed man in the house. He was trying to run out the front door.
“I said, motherf---er, did you murder my motherf-----g family?” Seng said.
The two men fought. Both threw punches. A neighbor who heard the screams arrived to help but the man escaped.
Police arrested Active a block away moments later. He was wearing boxer shorts, said Anchorage Police Department detective Slawomir Markiewicz.
Chea and Sreap were killed by “blunt force trauma,” and had injuries to their faces, police said, though an autopsy to formally determine a cause of death hasn’t been completed.
Detectives say the 2-year-old girl and Sorn Sreap had both been sexually assaulted. The toddler was taken to an area hospital where she underwent surgery for her injuries.
The 90-year-old great-grandmother in the apartment was apparently unharmed, Seng said.
She hasn’t been able to communicate with police due to her dementia, said Markiewicz.
It appears that Active entered the apartment through a window left unlocked, he said.
On Sunday, Seng stood near the boarded-up window of the apartment.
His knuckles were bloodied from the fight and he wore a parent visitor badge for the pediatric unit of a local hospital.
His grandparents were loving people who happily put up with his “hard-head self” as a child and teenager, he said.
Sreap and Chea, who are Cambodian, mostly raised him. They lived between Tacoma, Wash. and Anchorage.
They loved to play bingo and often babysat their great-grandchildren, he said.
The apartment on North Bragaw Street was home to not only his immediate family but members of the couple’s extended family.
It felt safe, Seng said.
“I know everyone around here,” he said. “Everyone knows me.”
But Seng did not know Jerry Andrew Active.
Active is a registered sex offender who listed his residence as the Anchorage Correctional Complex as recently as February.
A 2009 Alaska State Trooper dispatch says Active was arrested on suspicion of entering a Togiak home and sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl while the family slept, then assaulting all three members of the household.
He served time in jail for attempted sexual abuse of a minor and trespassing in 2010 and 2011, court records show.
Court records show Active was charged with violating his probation this spring but it’s not clear how recently he was incarcerated or what kind of correctional supervision he was on at the time of the alleged crime.
Documents show that he was supposed to be on probation until at least 2014.
On Sunday, Active appeared in court with a black eye. He tried to cover his face from news cameras with papers.
Active had initially refused to give his name to police — he was first identified as “John Doe” — but prosecutors said they were now certain of his identity, which was revealed in charging documents.
Active said he needed a lawyer and was assigned one from the state Public Defender Agency.
Prosecutor Jenna Gruenstein said the charges against Active and his criminal history made him an “extraordinary danger to the community, to a degree that we rarely see in Anchorage or Alaska.”
Most chilling, she said, was the fact that it appears that the suspect targeted his victims at random.
Such crimes are unusual, said Markiewicz.
“Between 80-90 percent of homicide victims know the suspects,” he said. “Random homicides are very rare.”
Now detectives are focused on finding out more about the circumstances surrounding the killings.
Some questions will be answerable in time, the detective said: where Active was in the hours and days before his alleged crime, and whether he was drunk or on any drugs at the time.
Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at email@example.com or 257-4344.
By MICHELLE THERIAULT BOOTS
Anchorage Daily News