Skip to main Content

Kodiak murder suspect claimed self-defense, police say

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: July 8, 2016
  • Published February 8, 2016

The man killed at a Kodiak harbor early Sunday morning was shot with an assault rifle by a former crewmate aboard his fishing vessel, according to charging documents filed in the case.

Kodiak police announced the arrest of Washington state resident Matt Bowe, 28, early Sunday in the death of 25-year-old Welton Daniel Albers. Albers, who went by "Dan," was from Houston, Texas, according to a statement sent Monday by the Kodiak Police Department.

Police said Bowe was arrested on one count of first-degree murder at Saint Herman Harbor, but provided few other details on the shooting.

According to an affidavit filed Sunday by Kodiak Police Department officer David Duncan, police first received a 911 call about the shooting about 12:45 a.m. Sunday. The caller, 26-year-old Everett Grass, told police that his friend had been shot several times aboard the fishing vessel Katherine. Grass frantically pleaded for officer assistance, the Kodiak statement said.

"KPD dispatch received another call from (Bowe), who stated he had just shot (the victim) in self-defense," Duncan wrote. "The defendant sounded very calm."

When officers arrived at L float of Saint Herman Harbor, another crew member from the fishing vessel ran toward them, yelling for help. Police gave Bowe instructions to surrender through a dispatcher, and Bowe left the boat.

"I shot Dan in self-defense, I killed him," police quoted Bowe as saying upon his surrender.

Officers found Albers lying outside a bunkroom that he shared with Bowe, as well as a loaded AR-15 rifle in the galley and an empty 12-gauge shotgun on the back deck. A later search found five .223-caliber shell casings, consistent with the AR-15's ammunition. Albers had been shot five times in his torso and his arm, Kodiak police said. There were also bullet holes in the adjacent galley's refrigerator.

Albers had no pulse and was taken to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, where he was declared dead just before 1:30 a.m.

The Katherine's captain told police that Bowe had struggled with alcohol issues and had been fired from the vessel on Saturday due to them. He also said that both the AR-15 and the shotgun were typically kept in the Katherine's wheelhouse and that Bowe had no reason to have the rifle.

A woman who was in the galley at the time said Bowe and the victim argued before the shooting. Bowe confirmed that account during an interview with police, saying he had consumed "several drinks throughout the day."

"(Bowe) stated the victim kicked in the bunkroom door during an argument and kicked the defendant in the face as he was lying on his bunk," Duncan wrote. "The defendant claimed the victim was reaching into his bunk and thought the victim was going to 'beat my ass.'"

Bowe later said that he should have fought the victim without using the rifle. Police obtained a warrant to test Bowe's hands for gunshot residue, with the results of that test coming back positive.

"(Bowe) also stated, 'I shouldn't have shot him,'" Duncan wrote.

Officers took the three witnesses to KPD for interviews. Based on their statements, Bowe was charged with murder.

Alaska Dispatch News reporter Jerzy Shedlock contributed to this report.

Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.