A few minutes after a woman frantically called police for help early Thursday morning from a ramshackle dwelling in a junk-strewn Chugiak lot, arriving officers found her dead along with her boyfriend. An initial investigation determined she was the victim in a murder-suicide.
The residence where police found Nita Kilapsuk, 40, and Michael Hagood, 49, dead of gunshot wounds was a retired People Mover bus displaying "Bus out of Service" on its route indicator.
Police said Kilapsuk was from the North Slope village of Nuiqsut. Hagood owned the 0.9-acre Chugiak lot at 21715 Valley Ave. where the bus was parked.
Just after 4 a.m., Kilapsuk called 911 and told a dispatcher that Hagood, her boyfriend, was holding her against her will and had a gun, police said. Anchorage Police Sgt. Mike Couturier said that as police were rushing to the scene, the dispatcher tried to calm Hagood.
Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said that throughout the call, it sounded like the phone was being passed between the couple. She said the dispatcher tried to convince Hagood to put the gun on the floor and leave the bus.
Then the phone went dead.
Couturier said police don't know if someone hung up or the cellphone connection was lost. But a minute later, the officers who reached the scene heard two gunshots.
Couturier said Hagood shot Kilapsuk and then shot himself.
He said police aren't sure how it happened. There was no magazine in the gun but Hagood could have placed a single round in the chamber for himself.
Police haven't said what kind of gun was used, Couturier said. He said police have reason to believe alcohol may be involved.
Couturier said because the lot is so dense with overgrown vegetation, rusted muscle cars and a couple pieces of heavy equipment and an old fire truck, it has taken a while to for police to canvass the area.
According to the Anchorage assessor's office, the lot is assessed at $61,200. A barn and a cabin on the lot, each 48 years old, were described by assessors as having "no value."
On Oct. 7, someone filed a complaint to the city about the heavy equipment and trailers stored on the property, said Jack Frost, Anchorage code enforcement chief.
He said vehicles and heavy equipment can't be stored on a residential property without a "viable house" on the parcel.
Neighbors said Hagood would stay in the bus on the weekends and burn wood in a barrel on the lot.
By BENJAMIN BRASCH
Alaska Dispatch Publishing