Man found dead near downtown; no obvious signs of foul play

Devin Kelly

Update: 8:30 a.m. Friday:

The man discovered dead Thursday morning near the 1000 block of East Third Avenue has been identified as Gregory Jack, 59, of Anchorage. His next of kin have been notified, police said.

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Thursday story:

A man's body was found on the loading dock outside a warehouse near downtown Anchorage Thursday morning, police and witnesses said. A preliminary investigation by police showed no obvious signs of foul play, a police spokeswoman said.

At 7:03 a.m., someone called police dispatchers to report that a man found outside appeared to be unconscious and not breathing, according to Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. Police and paramedics responded and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jim Cottrell, the owner of JC Marketing, a souvenir distribution company at 1020 E. 4th Ave., said that employees in the company's warehouse rolled up the door to the warehouse at 7:15 a.m. to see the man lying on the company's wooden loading dock, the place where trucks back up to make deliveries.

The man was lying stretched out on his back with one foot dangling over the edge of the loading dock, and the police had already arrived, Cottrell said.

"(The police) said, 'Close the door,'" Cottrell said. He said the warehouse employees who rolled up the door described the man as looking "beat up."

Authorities removed the body at 1 p.m., Cottrell said, and police barricade tape was removed about an hour later. He said bloodstains were visible on the dock and on the snow below.

Castro, the police spokeswoman, said an autopsy will be conducted and the man's identity will be released once next-of-kin have been notified.

Police are continuing to investigate, she said.

It's not unusual for employees to roll up the warehouse door and see someone lying on the dock, though this is the first body, Cottrell said. On Saturday, he said, the police were called to disperse a group of five people who were sitting on the dock.

Cottrell said the company has owned the two-story building since 1995. It's located just down the hill from where a homeless couple was shot and killed, and a third person was badly wounded, in a tent the evening of March 10. Police have made no arrests.

For the last three years, Cottrell has been trying to sell the building, but he said that with the number of homeless people who come onto the property, it's difficult to find a buyer.

Cottrell said he's proposedthe building being purchased or leased by the municipality or an organization that could offer shelter for the homeless and for support services.

But while the mayor's office, members of the Assembly and mental health advocates have expressed interest in the idea, he has been told that no funding is available.

He said he hoped the latest incident would highlight a need for more shelter space in the area.

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com or 257-4314.

 


By DEVIN KELLY
dkelly@adn.com