Crime & Courts

Anchorage man accused of killing his mother had mental health issues, charges say

An Anchorage man was experiencing mental health issues before he shot and killed his mother in the Campbell Park neighborhood early Sunday, charging documents said.

Thomas Layou, 38, shot his mother, Patrice Layou, just after 3 a.m. while she was outside his apartment building at East 46th Avenue and Folker Street, according to a sworn affidavit by Detective David Cordie of the Anchorage Police Department.

In the days before the shooting, Thomas Layou had directed “violent yelling episodes” at his mother, according to the affidavit. Around 2 a.m. Sunday, she had received a calmer call from her son and left to talk with him at his apartment, the affidavit said.

Gunshots were reported at the apartment complex at 3:19 a.m. When officers arrived, they saw Patrice Layou had been shot several times near her parked car, the affidavit said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness reported hearing a person walk up the stairs and enter a unit in the apartment building and turn on a shower shortly after the shooting, according to the affidavit.

Officers contacted Thomas Layou in his apartment and he was taken to police headquarters for an interview, the affidavit said. Police said Sunday afternoon that he was then jailed. In his home, police had found a .357 revolver pistol with five spent casings and blood on the barrel, the affidavit said.

Layou was charged with first- and second-degree murder. He is being held at the Anchorage Correctional Center on $200,000 bail and was scheduled for a hearing next week to determine if he’s eligible for a public defender.

A family member told police Layou had mental health issues that were exacerbated during the last month because he was not taking his medication, the affidavit said.

At the beginning of the month, Layou had gone to the airport to ask if he could fly with a firearm on him, the affidavit said. He eventually called airport police “and told them he didn’t feel safe,” the affidavit said. Layou was detained on a mental health hold and taken to the Alaska Psychiatric Institute.

Layou was a columnist for the Anchorage Press and described his experiences with alcoholism and depression in some of his columns. A series of stories published in the spring and summer said he was undergoing a ketamine treatment for depression.

Patrice Layou worked for the Anchorage School District for nearly four decades and retired in 2017.

“Her commitment to ASD was profound,” the district said in a statement. “No matter the role, she always remembered what our business was about: the students. Patti will be remembered by colleagues as someone who was the hub of the team, making everything flow smoothly behind the scenes. Patti was professional, kind, and a friend to everyone. A lot of ASD employees have lost a dear friend.”

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