As Anchorage saw six homicides in seven days, Anchorage police are emphasizing that the incidents are unrelated.
In total this year, there have been 32 homicide cases and 33 victims, excluding three officer-involved shootings. Charges have been filed in about three quarters of the cases, according to MJ Thim, spokesman for the Anchorage Police Department. Police are continuing to work to solve the more recent incidents, he said.
Last year saw 29 homicide cases and 30 victims in the city, excluding one officer-involved shooting, while 2017 had 33 cases and 37 victims, excluding two officer-involved shootings, according to data provided by the department. 2017 was a record for homicides in the city.
From Nov. 28 to this past Thursday, Anchorage police reported that six people were killed in homicides:
• On Nov. 30, Cecilia Tuuaga and her 13 year-old daughter were found in a burning SUV in East Anchorage and Tylan Fely was later charged with the murder of his wife and daughter.
• Grant Fowler, 34, was shot to death on Tuesday at the Black Angus Inn in Fairview, and the case remains open.
• On Tuesday, Ronald Raymond, 51, died in East Anchorage from “trauma to the upper body,” according to Anchorage police, and on Thursday a spokeswoman for the department said the investigation was ongoing
• On Thursday, Lanycha Zimmer, 27 was discovered dead inside of a stolen car that had been parked in an industrial part of Mountain View. A cause of death is still being determined.
This past year’s incidents were not random and most of the individuals involved “are acquainted in some manner, whether they are family, friends or associates,” Thim said.
Some of the investigations are also believed to be connected to drug-related activity, he said.
Additionally, there have been seven domestic violence-related homicides this year. APD has two officers who specifically investigate domestic violence and the department works closely with the organization, Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis during such investigations, Thim said.
Within the department, there are more detectives and officers working with the homicide unit, Thim said. APD is using support from the federal government through the public safety partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice.
In order to help prevent violent crime, Thim said, the department is working with federal, state and local organizations.
“It takes a community to solve these problems," Thim said. "It’s not just law enforcement. This is a community issue here. And it’s going to take a community to solve it.”