Crime & Courts

Man fatally stabbed in downtown Anchorage was trying to defuse a tense situation, prosecutor says

A 40-year-old Anchorage man is accused of fatally stabbing a person who prosecutors say was trying to act as a peacemaker during a tense confrontation in downtown Anchorage early Friday.

In the moments leading up to the assault, Caleb E. Irwin began following two people walking their dogs in the area of West Fourth Avenue, Assistant District Attorney Patrick McKay said during an arraignment hearing at the Anchorage Correctional Center on Friday afternoon.

Irwin continued to follow one of the people, a man, McKay said. Another man in the area, a passerby who saw the situation unfold, then stepped in to try to calm the confrontation, he said.

“The victim was initially trying to be a peacekeeper and to calm the situation down,” he said. “Irwin began attacking him, the victim began defending himself and at some point during this, Mr. Irwin pulled a knife that was approximately 10 inches long and had a double-sided blade and he cut the victim.”

Around 1:34 a.m., first responders were called to a reported stabbing in the 300 block of West Fourth Avenue, police wrote in a statement.

The wounded man was brought to a hospital and underwent emergency surgery but did not survive, McKay said.

Police identified the victim Saturday as Briar C. Dickson, 27. His mother spoke during Friday’s hearing, calling him the “peacemaker” and “most precious person in our family.”


“My son is never coming home,” she said.

Irwin was charged with first-degree murder and is being held on $350,000 bail at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at