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Crime & Courts

Motive unclear after man charged with shooting into crowd near downtown Anchorage, leaving 1 dead and 4 wounded

A memorial with flowers and balloons to honor Jaclyn Welcome, who was killed in a shooting early Saturday morning, were visible at the shooting scene on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Four other people were shot and taken to the hospital. (Bill Roth / ADN)

A 21-year-old man is facing numerous charges, including first- and second-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder, in a shooting near downtown Anchorage that left one woman dead and four others in critical condition.

On Sunday afternoon, a vase of white flowers was positioned below a shattered window of a former state office building near where Jaclyn Welcome, 37, was killed early Saturday. Many details remained unclear about the eruption of violence on Gambell Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, including what may have motivated the shooting and whether the victims had been targeted.

Police arrested Anthony Herring on Saturday. The four people wounded by gunfire were still in the hospital Sunday, Assistant District Attorney Saritha Anjilvel said during Herring’s court hearing Sunday. Charging documents against Herring had not been made public as of late Sunday.

Police were called to the area around 2:45 a.m. Saturday, the department wrote in an online statement.

Police Chief Ken McCoy said Saturday that a large group of people had gathered at the intersection with Fourth Avenue when an altercation broke out between two vehicles and gunfire began. Police have not said whether the group of people were targeted by the shooter, or if they were caught in crossfire.

Jaclyn Welcome died Saturday June 19, 2021, after she was shot near downtown Anchorage. Four other people were seriously wounded in the shooting. Police arrested Anthony Herring on numerous murder charges. (Photo courtesy of Desiree Montenegro)

Two women and three men were brought to the hospital for gunshot wounds, police said. Welcome was declared dead at the hospital.

Gambell Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues was closed for much of Saturday and evidence markers dotted the pavement where shell casings had landed. People in the area told a reporter Saturday that they had heard rapid gunshots and screaming.

Police said they identified Herring as a suspect “through the course of investigation” and arrested him late Saturday.

Police investigate the scene of an early morning fatal shooting along Gambell Street between Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue near downtown Anchorage on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Police investigate the scene of an early morning fatal shooting along Gambell Street between Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue near downtown Anchorage, Alaska, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

He appeared in court Sunday on charges of of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree misconduct involving a weapon, second-degree misconduct involving a weapon and tampering with evidence, according to police.

Herring’s case was assigned to the public defender’s office.

Judge David Bauer set bail at $250,000 cash performance and $100,000 cash appearance. If released, Herring must stay away from groups of homeless people, Bauer said.

A memorial with flowers and balloons to honor Jaclyn Welcome, who was killed in a shooting early Saturday morning, were visible at the shooting scene on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Four other people were shot and taken to the hospital. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Talking with a reporter at the scene of shooting on Sunday, Mike Macias, who described Welcome as his wife, said she had trouble maintaining housing because of a 2012 felony conviction. They were homeless when she was shot, he said.

Mike Macias talks about Jaclyn Welcome, who was killed in a shooting early Saturday morning, while he was at the shooting scene on Sunday, June 20, 2021. He said Welcome was his wife. Four other people were shot and taken to the hospital. (Bill Roth / ADN)

During the hearing, Welcome’s sisters described Herring’s actions as “pure evil” and said the killing was senseless. Welcome, they said, was a mother, daughter and sister “who wanted nothing more than to reconnect with her family.”

“There’s absolutely nothing anybody can do to bring my sister back,” Welcome’s sister Desiree Montenegro said.

Police investigate the scene of an early morning fatal shooting along Gambell Street between Fourth Avenue and Fifth Avenue near downtown Anchorage on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Bill Roth / ADN)
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