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Anchorage police seek suspect in shooting near downtown

Tegan Hanlon
Police collect evidence at the scene of a shooting that injured two men on East 12th Avenue between Gambell and Hyder streets on Wednesday afternoon, July 9, 2014. ERIK HILL / Alaska Dispatch News

A suspect remained at large Wednesday evening after a shooting in an Anchorage neighborhood sent two men to the hospital with non-life-threatening bullet wounds, police said.

The gunfire broke out on East 12th Avenue near the Hyder Street intersection around 2 p.m. Police said the suspect ran from the Fairview neighborhood before officers arrived. Officers canvassed the area looking for the suspect, whom they've only described as "a male." By 6 p.m., no one was taken into custody, said Jennifer Castro, police spokeswoman.

Amber Davis, 42, said she was standing among nine men along East 12th Avenue when the shooting occurred. One man revealed a gun tucked into his sock and fired multiple rounds into the group, striking two men in the leg, she said.  

"I was so scared," she said. "I've never been so close to gunfire."

Davis said she and the other men ran to Spirits of Alaska, a nearby liquor store on Gambell Street, and called 911. The man with the gun took off in the opposite direction. 

"This, right here, is not the life I dreamed of," Davis said.

The scene of the shooting -- a dirt-covered area along East 12th Avenue covered with empty liquor bottles and half-eaten cartons of food -- is well-versed in violence.

An officer shot and killed a blade-wielding man near East 12th Avenue and Hyder Street in 2013. One year before that and just a block over, a man was stabbed multiple times on the street and died in the hospital. 

Alvin Alexander Sr., who owns the body shop across the street from Wednesday's shooting, can recite the neighborhood's recent crimes. He's been there for more than 46 years and has long struggled with a homeless and inebriate population, he said. 

He has tacked "Private Property" signs along his shop and abutting home. He puts out bags near his fence for the garbage of those passing by. 

"Everything's changed," he said about the neighborhood. "But it's a lot different since the liquor store moved in."  

Castro asked anyone with information about the shooting to call police at 907-786-8500.