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Man charged with fatal shooting told police he found gun with girlfriend's body

Devin Kelly,Jerzy Shedlock

A 20-year-old woman died of a single gunshot wound in a Hillside home early Thursday morning, police said, and her boyfriend is facing a murder charge in connection with her death.   

Anchorage police officers responding to a 911 call early Thursday morning found Breanna Richelle Moore dead from a gunshot wound to the head, according to a statement from APD.

Moore’s boyfriend, Joshua Almeda, 22, was arrested Thursday morning. He faces charges of second-degree murder, misconduct involving a weapon, and theft.

Almeda is scheduled to appear in court Friday at the Anchorage jail courthouse. He is being held without bail.

The gray, two-story home where the shooting occurred was surrounded by police vehicles Thursday morning. 

According to a probable-cause statement written by Anchorage Police Department Detective Monique Doll, Shannon Almeda, Joshua’s mother, called police at 12:30 a.m. She told dispatchers Moore had been shot. Joshua Almeda could be heard yelling in the background, Doll wrote. 

Shannon Almeda told police that she woke to her son’s screams and went to his basement bedroom. She found Moore lying in bed with a gunshot wound to her face, Doll wrote. Shannon Almeda also saw a handgun on the bed, which she told police she hid from her son in the dishwasher before calling 911, according to Doll. 

When police arrived, Joshua Almeda appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, according to Doll. Afterward, he was taken to the police station for questioning. Almeda claimed he and Moore had been drinking that night and he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth when he “heard a loud bang,” Doll wrote. He told detectives he ran into the bedroom to find Moore lying face-up on the bed with the gunshot wound, according to Doll. 

He told detectives he shook Moore, trying to wake her up, while yelling for his mother, and he remembered nothing else until police arrived.

In the statement, Doll wrote: “Initial crime scene analysis indicates the physical evidence at the scene was not consistent with suicide.” 

Almeda initially denied knowledge of the handgun, which he said he kept behind a picture on a shelf in his bedroom, Doll wrote. He later told police he purchased it five years ago but would not say where. 

Through a search warrant served at the residence, officers recovered a 9mm Glock handgun, which was reported stolen in 2010, according to the statement by Doll. 

Past convictions  

Almeda’s criminal record includes two convictions for driving under the influence, as well as convictions for vehicle theft, weapons misconduct, resisting arrest and drug possession.

In most cases, alcohol was a factor, court records show.  

In November 2013, he was acquitted of four charges related to what police said was an assault in May of that year on his girlfriend at the time. In the charging documents, police said Almeda had been drinking when the assault occurred. The girlfriend went to Almeda’s parents for help. Police showed up shortly thereafter and found bullet holes in the house and window and his girlfriend’s car door. During the trial, Almeda’s parents invoked and were granted Fifth Amendment immunity, and as a result did not testify before jurors.  

Paul Miovas Jr., the prosecutor handling the current case, said the state would not comment on the reasons a jury acquitted Almeda “as we are not privy to their deliberations and would not want to speculate on a matter that is clearly the province of the jury in our criminal process,” he wrote in an email.

The state will examine all of Almeda’s criminal history, including evidence presented in the 2013 trial, he said. 

“It is the state’s obligation to refrain from making any comments that may inhibit Mr. Almeda’s ability to get a fair trial,” Miovas said.

Almeda attended Service High School, where he played on the football and baseball teams. His father, Phillip Almeda, was reached briefly by phone Thursday. 

“All I’ve got to say is, it’s to be determined,” Phillip Almeda said before referring questions to his lawyer. 

'Everybody loved her'

Moore graduated from Dimond High School, where she played volleyball. The youngest of three sisters, Moore was described by family and others who knew her as an upbeat, spirited young woman who loved riding her dirt bike and playing mud volleyball at Big Lake. 

“She was a great, great girl, and everybody loved her,” said her father, Butch Moore, in an initial phone conversation early Thursday afternoon, adding that he did not yet know the details of what had happened. 

In separate emailed statements, her older sisters, Brooke and Brandi Moore, said Breanna had an “infectious spirit” and was the most outgoing and talkative of the three siblings. She loved animals and spent each Wednesday at a shelter for cats, and also cared for dogs and a pet chameleon, Brooke Moore said. 

“I cannot say how much it saddens me to know that she isn’t here with us anymore, when she had so much life ahead of her,” Brooke Moore wrote. 

Butch Moore said his daughter wanted to be a dental hygienist. And she was on track, working full-time as a dental assistant in the hygiene program at Health Centered Dentistry in Anchorage. 

David Mishler, co-owner of the clinic, said Thursday his staff was shocked and devastated by Moore’s death. He described her as intelligent, optimistic and determined.  

She was originally a patient at the clinic and wanted a job, but at first was turned down because she didn’t have enough experience, Mishler said.

“She kept coming back until we finally hired her,” Mishler said. 

He said she was a valuable employee who seemed to be constantly humming a song, singing or bouncing. 

“She was a good person, a very good person,” Mishler said. “And she had tremendous potential.” 

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com. Reach Jerzy Shedlock at jerzy@alaskadispatch.com.


By DEVIN KELLY and JERZY SHEDLOCK
Anchorage Daily News/ Alaska Dispatch