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Crime & Courts

Police say Spenard business employee shot customer after arguing over payment

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: November 16
  • Published November 16

Anchorage police officers investigate a shooting at Determine Design at 903 W. Northern Lights Blvd. in Anchorage on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

Anchorage police said an employee at a Spenard business shot one of his customers Wednesday, sending the man to the hospital with a single bullet wound to his torso.

Police released the information in a brief statement Thursday that detailed some of the circumstances surrounding the shooting at the business on West Northern Lights Boulevard, just west of the Arctic Boulevard intersection.

According to the police statement, the customer went into Determine Design on Wednesday afternoon to talk to an employee about a project the architecture company was working on for him.

"An argument ensued over payment; the employee produced a gun and shot the victim once in the torso," the statement said.

The employee immediately called 911 and reported that he had shot someone, police said.

Police have not yet named the customer shot or the employee who fired the gun.

Police spokeswoman Renee Oistad said the customer remained in the hospital Thursday and was expected to survive.

The employee cooperated with police, she said. Detectives questioned him Wednesday, and he was later released from police custody, Oistad said.

She said that as of Thursday afternoon, the employee had not been charged in the shooting.

The investigation continues, she said, and he could be charged later.

"If we had probable cause and enough evidence to support the charge, then we would have filed a charge," Oistad said. "That's not the case right now, so we have not filed any charges right now."

Oistad declined to comment further about the shooting, including whether the customer was carrying a gun when he entered the business and whether the argument turned physical before a shot was fired.

She said she could not release additional details, outside of the police statement Thursday, because of the ongoing investigation.

Reached by phone Thursday, the owner of Determine Design, Daniel Clift, declined to comment on what exactly happened inside the business Wednesday afternoon. He said he did not want to interfere with the police investigation. He did say, however, that the shooting "was an act of self-defense."

"That's a vague, general statement that I can make," he said.

When asked if he was the one who fired the gun at the customer, Clift would not answer.

"Our staff is fine," he said. "There's nothing we can really divulge at this time."

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