Crime & Courts

Anchorage police: Double homicide may be connected to other crimes

A shooting in East Anchorage that left two people dead early Tuesday may be connected to previous violent crimes, Anchorage police said.

At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, the Anchorage Police Department implored the public to contact them with any information regarding the fatal shooting that occurred around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday on the 6000 block of East 41st Court. No suspects were in custody Tuesday.

Police arrived at the scene Tuesday morning and found 27-year-old Christian Haynes already dead. An unidentified 23-year-old woman had also been shot and was taken to a local hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries around 5 a.m.

During the incident, bullets had also "filled the lower apartment" underneath the scene of the shooting, where "there was a family that had just moved in that building the day before," APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro said.

Haynes and the female victim were in a relationship, Castro said.

Five children were also in the apartment during the shooting. The two victims were "serving as the children's parents," although Castro said they were "not necessarily biological" parents.

The couple did not live at the apartment as a permanent residence, Castro said.

Police believe the shooting "possibly stemmed from some other violent crimes that had taken place prior," she said, and may have been gang- or drug-related.

"We're not overlooking any of those connections," Castro said.

On Tuesday afternoon, yellow tape blocked off the tan apartment complex in East Anchorage where the shooting had occurred. A handful of police vehicles were parked in the vicinity.

Neighbor Alicia Esparza lives across the street from the apartment complex. She said she heard commotion sometime after 2 a.m.

"It sounded like a car crash at first," Esparza said. "It was just kind of loud."

Esparza didn't know the couple but said she had seen their children playing in the cul-de-sac.

"It's really sad," Esparza said.

The incident was the second fatal shooting since Sunday, and marks the second and third homicide of 2015 in Anchorage. A 14-year-old boy was arrested for fatally shooting 18-year-old Charles Gustav Steinhilpert III in the parking lot of an Anchorage Walgreens Sunday night, police said.

Castro addressed a string of shootings around the city in recent weeks, calling the crimes "a concern."

"And what I can tell you is the department is throwing every single resource it has right now at trying to solve this crime and stop this from happening," she said.

"We know that there have been a lot of violent crime events happening and a lot of situations where it's popping up on a daily basis … we think that people are taking it upon themselves to settle conflicts, to settle differences that they might have, in a violent and harmful way."

Then, Castro asked for the public's help.

"We are at a point now where we are just asking anyone and everyone to flood our lines, let us know what's going on, anything suspicious," Castro said.

Anyone with information about the most recent shooting is asked to call police at 907-786-8900 or contact Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.