Anchorage police made new arrests Saturday night in two fatal shooting cases that occurred in the city less than a week apart late last month. Both deaths resulted from drug deals gone wrong, according to police detective Sgt. Slav Markiewicz.
One man, 19-year-old Makur Chan, has been charged in both shootings. Chan faces two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree robbery for his alleged role in the deaths of 18-year-old Charles Steinhilpert III on Jan. 25 and of 20-year-old Jeanpal Borge on Jan. 29.
"Both of these homicides were drug related where there was intent to rob the victims," wrote Jennifer Castro, Anchorage Police Department communications director, in a statement.
Chan is one of four people arrested in connection with the shooting on Jan. 25, when police say two groups of teens met at the Walgreens near the intersection of Lake Otis Parkway and Tudor Road for a drug deal. There, a 14-year-old boy reportedly got in an argument with Steinhilpert. According to police, the boy took out a gun and fired it once, striking Steinhilpert, who died 20 minutes later at a hospital.
Soon after the shooting, police arrested the 14-year-old boy, whose name has not been released because of his age. During the weekend, police also arrested 18-year-old Keiara Reynaud and 19-year-old Timothy Funches in the Jan. 25 case. Each has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree robbery.
Steinhilpert's death marked the first homicide of the year in Anchorage, but more murders soon followed.
In the case of the fatal shooting on Jan. 29, police arrested 18-year-old Nathaniel Kile Jr. on Saturday night. He faces charges of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the shooting, which occurred in an East Anchorage Jiffy Lube parking lot near the intersection of Bragaw Street and San Jeronimo Court. That shooting also stemmed from a drug deal, Markiewicz said.
Markiewicz said at a press conference Sunday he could not say specifically how each individual was involved in the crimes, citing the ongoing investigations. He said police were confident they have arrested the "main participants," though he said he wouldn't be surprised if there were additional charges filed against the same suspects or others who may have been involved.
A charging document filed in Anchorage District Court on Sunday also names 20-year-old Simon Chuar and charges him with first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted murder, second-degree murder and misconduct involving weapons in the Jan. 29 shooting.
A warrant was issued for his arrest, but Markiewicz said Sunday that Chuar was not in custody and declined to comment on the status of his arrest, saying there was "still some work that needs to be done."
"I would rather not comment on that until we have a chance to talk to him and interview him and take him into custody," Markiewicz said.
Meanwhile, two other shooting deaths from last month remain unsolved. On Wednesday, police again asked for anyone with information on the Jan. 27 double homicide of Krystal Elizabeth Hawk, 23, and Christian Haynes, 27, to come forward. The couple died after being shot at their apartment on the 6000 block of East 41st Court.
Markiewicz said those murders were not related to the two other fatal shootings in January, but may be related to other nonfatal shootings.
The spike in violence prompted the police department to form a special investigative task force that began meeting last week. Police Chief Mark Mew said Sunday the task force continues to work to crack down on street crime and to help Markiewicz wrap up the homicide investigations.
"We will work (Markiewicz's) leads until he cries 'uncle,' " Mew said.