Crime & Courts

One victim in double homicide outside Anchorage Walmart was an employee on break

A store employee on break was among two people shot to death outside the Dimond Walmart in Anchorage on Sunday night, a company spokesperson said.

The shooting happened at the bustling store adjacent to the Dimond Center mall Sunday evening, days before Thanksgiving. Police said a man and woman died of their injuries in the parking lot, just outside the entrance. As of Monday afternoon, the Anchorage Police Department has said little about the circumstances of the double homicide in a busy public place.

Police on Sunday said they believe the killings were an “isolated incident” and that an investigation was underway. On Monday, a spokeswoman said in an email that police believed they had “contacted everyone involved.”

[Earlier coverage: 2 people shot to death outside Walmart in South Anchorage]

As of Monday afternoon, no one had been arrested or charged. The victims had not been identified by police.

On Monday, police refused to answer additional questions.

“We do not anticipate releasing any more details until at least tomorrow,” Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad wrote in an email. “This is an open and ongoing investigation.”


“There is no concern for public safety,” Oistad wrote.

The Walmart had reopened by Monday morning, with only a lingering piece of crime scene tape outside to suggest the violence that had unfolded hours before. Inside, customers shopped for groceries as Christmas music played in the background. Two police chaplain volunteers, one walking a dog, walked in and made their way to the back of the store.

One of the two victims was a Walmart employee who was on break at the time of the shooting, Walmart spokesperson Kelsey Bohl said in an email. Walmart is providing bereavement counseling in person and over the phone to employees, Bohl said.

The company is assisting police, she said. The store has dozens of exterior security cameras trained on entrances and exits.

“We have and will continue working with law enforcement throughout their investigation,” Bohl said.

In social media posts and interviews, shoppers at Walmart described suddenly being held on lockdown inside the busy store, with little idea of what was happening outside.

Jasmina Carmack, her husband and two children, ages 12 and 1, were shopping at Walmart on Sunday night when they checked out and approached the exit of the store.

“The security starts just locking the doors and not letting any of us leave,” she said in an interview Monday. “We’re just not really sure what happened.”

Carmack said she eventually saw police lights in the parking lot and heard employees saying someone had fired shots outside. She thinks her family was locked inside the Walmart for about 30 minutes.

She was scared for her kids, Carmack said, especially not knowing the extent of what had happened or the threat posed.

“It’s scary,” she said. “It doesn’t make me feel safe at all. You can be anywhere and something bad happens.”

Daily News reporter Zaz Hollander contributed to this story.

• • •

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.