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Anchorage

APD investigating fatal shooting at Spenard club

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: July 8, 2016
  • Published July 18, 2015

A young man died in a shooting at a Spenard club early Saturday morning, Anchorage police said.

Police said 18-year-old Alex Thanapong Yu was killed at about 1:20 a.m. at the Alano Club, a sober club on Spenard Road.

No other details about the circumstances of Yu's death were immediately released. No arrests have been made, police said.

The Alano Club is known as a longtime Anchorage spot for recovering alcoholics, as well as a venue for late-night weekend dances for teenagers and young adults. On Saturday morning, police tape cordoned off the side parking lot and back entrance to the building, and crime scene detectives were walking in and out of a white trailer.

Michael Cooper, 46, was volunteering at the club Friday night and said there was music and dancing. He said he was patrolling near the restrooms when he heard gunfire.

"I heard the shots, I came up front," Cooper said. He heard screaming: "People were just running out."

Cooper said he at first thought the shooting had happened in the parking lot. Then he walked up toward the front and saw a body lying in the middle of the dance floor, under the disco ball.

Cooper said the club, struggling with low membership, rents out the sound system to help pay for rent and electricity. It wasn't immediately clear Saturday who was hosting the dance event.

Because of the police investigation, people who turned up Saturday morning for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings were being turned away. Cooper said he hadn't been able to get back inside since last night.

"I'd just like to get back in there and clean up," Cooper said. He said he's been volunteering at the club about a decade but could only remember fistfights breaking out.

Standing next to his patrol car near the police tape, Officer Keo Fujimoto of APD said police have regularly responded to the venue over the years. He said the after-hours dances tend to draw crowds of teenagers.

"This has always been a problem spot," Fujimoto said.

In 2009, an 18-year-old was shot in the head in the parking lot outside the club and critically injured.

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