Alaska News

Brothers kidnapped, shot, left for dead in Hatcher Pass; Anchorage man charged

Under a 4:30 a.m. blanket of darkness last Thursday, a driver on the road that snakes through Hatcher Pass, a rugged alpine area north of Anchorage, saw something in his headlights.

There were two men lying in the road. One was handcuffed and clad only in boxer shorts and a T-shirt in the snow.

He called 911.

Both men had been shot multiple times, but were conscious when troopers arrived around 5 a.m., according to an affidavit filed with the court by an Alaska State Troopers investigator.

A 34-year-old Anchorage man is now accused of beating and kidnapping the men from a Mountain View apartment over a stolen wallet and driving them to a lookout point 15 miles into Hatcher Pass, where he allegedly shot them and left them for dead.

Both of the victims, identified as brothers Kevin Kirlin, 22, and Keeton Kirlin, 23, in court documents, were taken to Anchorage hospitals where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to troopers.

Matthew Scharber, 34, was arraigned in Anchorage jail court on Wednesday on felony charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, vehicle theft and assault. Additional charges will likely be forthcoming, said Anchorage assistant district attorney Saritha Anjilvel.


An affidavit filed by Alaska State Troopers investigator David DeCoeur details the series of events that led to the discovery of the shot, bound men on the mountainside.

The trouble began at an apartment in Mountain View.

At around midnight on Thursday, the affidavit says, the Kirlin brothers went to the Thompson Avenue apartment of a guy they knew as "Matt." They were looking for a lost gold ring that one of their girlfriends had bought at a pawnshop, according to the statement to investigators.

The men said they'd known "Matt" for about a year. They described him as a guy who often wore a bandanna on his head, was missing teeth, had tattoos covering his arms and didn't work or drive because police had impounded his Pontiac Grand Prix.

Things quickly went awry at the apartment.

The brothers told investigators that they were held at gunpoint, pistol whipped, tied up and beaten with a pole "over a stolen wallet" by two men.

Two hours later, the brothers were taken out of the apartment through a window and loaded in their own Subaru Outback, according to the affidavit. They were driven north for about 45 minutes. When they got out, they were "on a mountain," the affidavit said.

Then, they told police, they tried to talk to the man they knew as Matt, who they alleged was holding a small gun.

"Keeton said 'Just get it over with,' " an account in the affidavit says.

The brothers were each shot multiple times — one man in the abdomen and left thigh and the other in the shoulder and arm, according to the court filing. The brothers said the man drove off, leaving them to struggle for each other in the dark. One told the investigator "everything was black and he could only move about 30 feet then would fall down." He eventually made it to his brother and gave him his socks in an attempt to keep him warm, according to the affidavit.

The brothers spent three hours bleeding and bound on the roadside waiting for help, the affidavit said.

They told police that "four cars drove by and wouldn't stop to help them."

Police found blood stains, cigarette butts and bullet casings in the snow at a lookout 15 miles into Hatcher Pass that's just past the junction with Archangel Valley Road.

An investigation by troopers later linked the brothers' description of "Matt" to Scharber. The brothers' stolen Subaru was recovered from the Tikahtnu Commons Target parking lot, troopers said.

On Tuesday, troopers — with the Anchorage Police Department's SWAT team standing by — arrested Scharber at his apartment without incident.

Investigators found "a large amount of methamphetamine" along with a scale and packing equipment during the search, troopers wrote in an online dispatch.

As of Wednesday Scharber had not been charged with any drug-related crime in the incident.


At his court hearing Scharber, in a yellow jail jumpsuit with his hair in a bleached-blonde mohawk, told the judge that he was not employed and had earned "maybe a couple grand" in the past year.

He asked for an attorney.

Scharber protested when Anchorage District Court Judge J. Patrick Handley set his bail at $250,000 cash or corporate appearance bond, with a $100,000 performance bond plus a third-party custodian on Wednesday.

"It's a false accusation and an absurd bail," Scharber said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Matthew Scharber's first name as Michael.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.