Crime & Courts

Anchorage man pleads guilty in 2021 shooting that killed 1, wounded 4

An Anchorage man pleaded guilty Wednesday for shooting into a crowd of homeless people in 2021, killing one woman and wounding four other people.

Anthony Lee Herring, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Jaclyn Welcome. He also pleaded guilty to four first-degree assault charges for shooting and wounding four other people near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Gambell Street during 2021.

A plea agreement calls for Herring to serve 25 years in prison, Assistant District Attorney Patrick McKay said during Wednesday’s hearing. All other charges, including counts of first- and second-degree murder and attempted murder, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

A day before Herring opened fire on a group of people near the Cline’s Tesoro station, he’d argued with a number of homeless people there, a criminal complaint filed in the case said. He worked at the service station, according to police.

A video circulated on social media after the shooting and showed two men confronting a group of people in the lot next to the service station. The younger man threatened a woman with a baseball bat and screamed profanities at her.

During the early hours of June 19, 2021, Herring drove back to the area with his girlfriend, who told investigators he “complained about the homeless people who gathered there and expressed anger and frustration at them,” charging documents said. Then he started firing, she said.

Herring was arrested the day after the shooting when he returned to the area for work, police said.


Ken McCoy, who was police chief at the time of the shooting, had said investigators did not believe Herring was targeting the group because they were homeless, but that his frustration with them had escalated to violence.

McCoy at the time described the crime as the city’s first mass shooting — involving four or more people — in at least 36 years.

The four wounded people were hospitalized for critical injuries, authorities said. Welcome, 37, died at the hospital after the shooting.

She was a loving mother to six, but struggled with addiction and mental health issues, her family has said. A toxic relationship led her to experience homelessness for several years prior to her death, her family said.

Welcome had wanted to reconnect with family and make changes in her life, but the shooting dashed those hopes, family members said.

[Family of woman killed in shooting near downtown Anchorage details a life marked by struggle, and hope cut short]

Nearly a dozen of Welcome’s family members gathered in the courtroom on Wednesday. They said they do not believe 25 years is a long enough sentence for Herring and feel that the sentence is demeaning to her life.

“Twenty-five years? Get out of here. My daughter is worth more than 25 years,” Genevieve Nathan, Welcome’s mother, said through an American Sign Language interpreter.

Herring is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

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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