Anchorage man dies weeks after he was shot in head; upgraded charges likely

Devin Kelly
Shooting suspect Talon Draper, 19, appeared in the Anchorage jail court on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, where he was arraigned on one felony count of first-degree assault for the Tuesday morning shooting of Jermaine Twiley, 22. Bill Roth

A 22-year-old man who went on life support after being shot in the head outside an East Anchorage apartment complex in January has died of his injuries, and homicide charges are anticipated for the man accused of the shooting, authorities said Wednesday.

Jermaine Twiley died Sunday at an Anchorage hospital, Jennifer Castro, an Anchorage police spokeswoman, said in an email.

Twiley's mother, Dana Twiley, said in a phone interview from Chicago that the family took Twiley off life support about three weeks ago. The shooting occurred Jan. 7 in the 3400 block of Thompson Avenue in Mountain View.

Talon Draper, 19, is currently charged with first-degree assault, a felony, in the shooting. But with the death of Twiley, prosecutors anticipate adding homicide charges, said Clint Campion, deputy district attorney.

Campion said an autopsy was performed on Twiley on Tuesday. Prosecutors are coordinating with the state medical examiner's office and plan to present additional information to an Anchorage grand jury next week.

A lawyer for Draper did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Draper claimed he was trying to protect others when he shot Twiley, police said. He told detectives that he heard Twiley and his girlfriend yelling at each other inside their apartment next door in the early morning hours, according to charging documents.

Police responded to the incident and spoke separately with Twiley and his girlfriend, but she refused to answer questions, according to the charges. Dana Twiley said the woman was Twiley's girlfriend and the mother of his 1-year-old son.

About an hour later, neighbors heard the couple yelling again, and the girlfriend was screaming for someone to call 911, the charges say.

Draper told detectives he called 911, got a .22 caliber rifle out of his bedroom closet and loaded it, the charges say. He opened the door of the family's third-floor apartment, saw Twiley running down the street, yelled at him to stop, then fired the gun twice, the charges say.

Draper later told detectives he fired his rifle after he saw Twiley reach down with his hands, Castro said.

Officers found Twiley lying face down in the street with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Medics rushed him to a hospital, where he underwent surgery that involved removing part of his skull.

Dana Twiley, who spent the last month in the hospital with her son, said she and her family are still searching for answers.

"I still don't understand why that boy did this," Dana Twiley said. "I'm still not getting that. I guess it'll all come out at trial."

Reach Devin Kelly at or 257-4314.