Crime & Courts

12-year-old boy arrested in fatal shooting near Chester Creek trail

Anchorage police on Wednesday arrested a 12-year-old boy suspected in the Sunday killing of an 18-year-old near the Chester Creek trail.

Police said they could not release the boy’s name because he is a juvenile. He was taken to McLaughlin Youth Center and unspecified charges were forwarded to the Division of Juvenile Justice.

Anchorage Police Department spokesman MJ Thim said the shooting happened after a group of juveniles began fighting near the Sullivan Arena sports fields. The altercation ended near the Chester Creek trail, where the boy allegedly shot and killed 18-year-old Thomas Williams and injured another juvenile, Thim said.

“How the juvenile became in the possession of the gun, who owns the gun, all those questions are part of the investigation,” Thim said.

Detectives are still investigating what the altercation was about and how the 12-year-old suspect knew the two victims, Thim said. Police have not released the name of the surviving victim, and Thim said the department wasn’t aware of his condition.

Officers found the suspect with 45-year-old LaShawna Nettles, who police previously called a “person of interest." Thim said he couldn’t specify the relationship between Nettles and the suspect.

Nettles was questioned and released Tuesday, police said.


Clinton Bennett, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Services, which houses the Division of Juvenile Justice, said Wednesday that the agency would not release the boy’s exact charges.

“In general, statute prohibits the department from providing information to the public about specific crimes, charges, cases, or juveniles -- except to protect public safety,” Bennett wrote in an email.

Under Alaska law, minors who are at least 16 years old automatically enter the adult criminal justice system if they’re charged with certain serious crimes, Bennett said.

However, the department can petition for what’s known as a discretionary waiver, which allows minors under 16 to be tried as adults in cases where the agency believes the minor wouldn’t be suited for treatment in the juvenile justice system or can’t be rehabilitated before they turn 20.

“Discretionary waivers are rare, but they may be sought for young juveniles who commit very serious offenses or older juveniles with extensive juvenile histories who are unlikely to benefit from further DJJ intervention,” Bennett said.

Madeline McGee

Madeline McGee is a general assignment reporter for the Daily News.