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Crime & Courts

Family of victim says fatal East Anchorage shooting was accidental

  • Author: Tess Williams
  • Updated: November 7, 2019
  • Published November 6, 2019

An Anchorage man is accused of fatally shooting his roommate with an AR-15 rifle Tuesday night in East Anchorage.

Samuel J. Fair, 22, appeared for an arraignment Wednesday on a charge of manslaughter. Police on Thursday morning identified the victim as Caleb Rockafield, 20.

Also at the hearing were two women who identified themselves as family members of Rockafield. His stepmother, Dawn Fike, asked for leniency in bond for Fair. She said Fair and Rockafield were close friends and the shooting was an accident.

Fair is a paratrooper assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, as a construction equipment repairer at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a spokesman for the base said. He is from Indiana and joined the Army in 2016.

According to charging documents, Fair and his roommates had gone to the apartment of a neighbor, identified in charging documents as Kendall Reed. Fair asked about an AR-15 rifle that Reed said was loaded and in a crate next to his bed.

Reed told investigators that Fair went to check out the rifle. He said he watched Fair take out a magazine and told him to check if it was loaded. A witness told investigators she heard a “pop” before Rockafield fell to the ground from a shot to his lower back.

Witnesses told investigators that Fair left the apartment, came back crying and apologizing, and said something like, “I don’t know what happened, I accidentally shot (the victim),” charges said.

Police were called to the scene at 8:15 p.m. and said multiple witnesses were questioned.

Fair was originally charged with assault and reckless endangerment. The District Attorney’s Office charged him with manslaughter after Rockafield died Wednesday.

Bail was set at $200,000 for Fair.