Crime & Courts

Self-defense motivated fatal gunfire targeting two brothers, shooter tells police

An Anchorage man involved in a fatal shooting in a Russian Jack neighborhood Monday night told investigators he feared for his life before firing at two brothers, court documents show.

Killed was Joshua Austin, 19, Anchorage police said Wednesday. Austin was shot twice in the chest at Third Avenue and Klevin Street on Monday night and died at an Anchorage hospital.

His brother, 20-year-old Justin Austin, was arrested on charges including evidence tampering and third-degree assault.

The man who shot the younger Austin was identified in charging documents as Eric Hicks-Lundy. As of Wednesday, he had not been charged with any crime.

Hicks-Lundy and Justin Austin told investigators different versions of what happened, but police found Hicks-Lundy’s story was supported by surveillance video and evidence, the document indicates.

Hicks-Lundy said he was at a wake barbecue gathering in the neighborhood when he spotted Justin Austin holding a pistol and acting “like he was looking for trouble,” according to a statement of facts filed with the initial complaint by Anchorage police detective Troy Clarkin. He called 911 and reported what he saw, but police didn’t find the man when they arrived.

Hicks-Lundy said the other man followed him to the gathering and they exchanged words in front of the apartment building before the other man left, according to the document. But then the man and another man — the Austin brothers — “returned to his location and began shooting at him,” Clarkin wrote.

Hicks-Lundy said he tried to run away and fired back at the two men as they shot at him, the complaint states. He fired two shots as he ran down an alley and two or three more in front of a house before circling back to the wake location.

Shells and surveillance video were consistent with Hicks-Lundy’s interview, the detective said.

He told investigators “he was in fear for his life when (he) saw the male with the gun,” Clarkin wrote. “He was in fear that he and his family would get killed or injured when the male started shooting at him.”

A witness saw Justin Austin burying a gun in the sand at a park near the shooting scene, the complaint said. Police found two guns there.

Austin told investigators he was riding his bicycle in the area when he saw Hicks-Lundy starting at him, the document said. He turned around and confronted the other man, he said, at which time Hicks-Lundy pulled out a gun and fired two rounds in the air.

Austin said he went to his nearby home and got his gun so he could “safely” get a photo of the other man’s vehicle, the complaint said. Then he and his brother went to take the photo and Hicks-Lundy started shooting at them.

Austin told investigators he returned fire but his brother didn’t, the document said.

As of Wednesday, Austin remained jailed at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.

Zaz Hollander

Longtime ADN reporter Zaz Hollander is based in the Mat-Su and is currently focused on coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska. She also covers the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at zhollander@adn.com.

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