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Crime & Courts

APD: Victim in killing near downtown Anchorage was resting when he was shot

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: December 11, 2017
  • Published December 11, 2017

APD officers at the scene of a homicide at 618 E. Ninth Avenue on Sunday (Julia O’Malley / ADN)

Devan McDonald was in a bedroom in an apartment on East Ninth Avenue on Sunday when another man came in, shot him in the upper body and left, Anchorage police said Monday.

McDonald, 22, died there, police said.

Kuach Chuol Kuach (Photo courtesy APD)

The suspect, 20-year-old Kuach Chuol Kuach, was arrested early Monday after an hours-long standoff with officers at his family's apartment on the 1600 block of Juneau Drive, police said.

A tip came in around 11:15 p.m. Sunday that Kuach was there, police spokesman MJ Thim said. A SWAT team convinced him to come out without incident around 5:45 a.m. Monday.

It's not clear how many of Kuach's family members were in the apartment, Thim said. Kuach didn't threaten them at any time.

There were "multiple people" inside the Ninth Avenue apartment on Sunday when the shooting occurred, Thim said. "The victim was in a bedroom resting. The suspect walked in and shot him once in the upper body and fled."

On Monday afternoon, police were still trying to establish the relationship between McDonald and Kuach. They were also trying to ascertain the motive.

The shooting death is this year's 35th homicide, topping last year's tally, a record-high number.

Kuach's family has lived in Anchorage since 2010 and lived in Nebraska before that, according to Kuach's father, reached in Washington state. He did not want to comment on the shooting. The family is originally from Sudan.

At the time of the shooting, Kuach was on probation for a felony weapons conviction connected to a fatal car crash near Merrill Field last year, according to sentencing documents in that case.

The car's driver was ejected and killed in the wreck, which apparently happened during an exchange of gunfire, court documents show.

Kuach, whose neck was broken in the crash, also had a gunshot wound in his arm, according to a bail memorandum filed by his attorney. He told investigators he was drunk and on Xanax and didn't remember what happened.

Kuach's original charges included manslaughter. He pleaded guilty to third-degree misconduct involving weapons and was sentenced to two years' probation and 12 months to serve, all of it suspended time.

His attorney told a judge during sentencing that Kuach "has plans for the future" that involve possibly leaving Alaska, according to a change of plea transcript.

During the April hearing, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack Smith told Kuach his lack of memory about the crash may not help the victim's mother. But Smith said he hoped the two-year probation would allow him to get his life on track, according to the transcript.

Kuach served five days in jail in September for a probation violation linked to shoplifting, according to an affidavit filed with the probation revocation request.

McDonald, Sunday's shooting victim, had a young son, friends say.

He grew up in Ketchikan and moved to Anchorage several years ago, according to Davante Guthrie, a longtime friend who still lives in Ketchikan.

Guthrie and another friend were stunned by the news of McDonald's death and expressed surprise that he would be the victim of any serious criminal activity. Guthrie said Kuach's name wasn't familiar to him.

Amanda Iverson said McDonald cycled in and out of a residential youth facility where she worked. But that was for being rebellious and not wanting to listen to his mother, and not major behavioral problems, Iverson said.

McDonald made an immediate and positive impression on her when they met at the facility in 2010, she said. He had dinner with her family sometimes. She'd give him rides around town.

Iverson, who waits tables at the Landing Hotel's restaurant, saw McDonald's mother there Friday but was too busy to go over and find out how he was doing.

"The last time I checked on him, he loved being a father," she said. "He was straightening out his life."

Editor's note: This story has been altered to reflect new information on the number of homicides occurring in Anchorage in 2017. As of Dec. 11 there have been 35 homicides, not 34, according to Anchorage police and Alaska State Troopers. 

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