Crime & Courts

Charges: Gunmen sprayed bullets into a crowded Anchorage homeless camp, killing one and wounding another

Two men pulled up to a homeless camp in Midtown Anchorage early Saturday morning and fired 17 gunshots into a dense cluster of tents and vehicles, killing one man and wounding another, according to criminal charges filed in Anchorage Superior Court.

Keilen Reynolds and Dominick Santana are charged with second-degree murder, assault and weapons misconduct in the incident, which took place on Fairbanks Street just south of West 40th Avenue early Saturday morning. Since the city cleared a large camp at nearby Cuddy Park earlier this year, the site has become a sprawling collection of tents and RVs.

In an affidavit included in the charging document, police described being called to a report of gunshots in the area of Fairbanks and 40th streets, just east and north of a Home Depot store on Tudor Road. The officers saw two men leave the scene in a dark SUV and found Farrel Suilua shot to death, and another man who had been struck by gunfire while in his tent. That man was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the foot, the charges said.

Police found “tents which had bullet holes in them” and at least three vehicles that had also been hit by gunfire. Witnesses described two men pulling up to the camp area in a vehicle and robbing another man at gunpoint before fleeing — as “homeless in the area chased after them,” the charging document said. The men returned about 10 minutes later and the gunfire broke out, the witnesses said, according to the charging document.

The men were “shooting indiscriminately” into the camp, one witness told police, the charging document said. It wasn’t clear which man was accused of shooting into the camp. The charges did not say what police believe happened to the gun or guns used.

Police tracked down two men believed to be the shooters using surveillance footage of vehicles and GPS data from Reynolds, who was was wearing an ankle monitor involving a separate pending criminal charge, the charging document said. In interviews, Reynolds told police he and Santana had showed up at the camp to buy fentanyl, planning to buy about “5 pills for $20,” which he described to detectives as “enough to satisfy his (addiction) for about two days,” according to the charges.

Reynolds told police he had been shot before and was afraid of guns, and didn’t see what happened. Santana also told police he was there at the time of the incident but denied shooting.


Both men made an initial court appearance at the Anchorage Jail on Sunday.

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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.