Charges: Army veteran shot 2 in downtown encounter
Thursday, May 17th 2018
Police say an Army veteran, accused of shooting and wounding two people in Anchorage Wednesday, claimed that he opened fire when one of them approached him with a hammer in an ongoing dispute.
Rusty Tuuaga, 34, was taken into custody on charges including attempted murder after the shooting, which left a man with life-threatening injuries and a woman with non-life-threatening injuries. Police said overnight that the incident appeared to be drug-related.
U.S. Army Alaska officials said Thursday that Tuuaga had left the Army last week on May 6, as a specialist with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s 725th Support Battalion.
A charging document in the case, written by Assistant District Attorney Arne Soldwedel, said the wounded man said Tuuaga’s first name “several times” when police reached the 600 block of East 5th Avenue shortly after 8:45 p.m. The victims were taken to separate Anchorage hospitals with torso wounds, with the man arriving in critical condition.
Surveillance video from the shooting showed the victims getting out of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, then approaching a sport-utility vehicle they had blocked in; one of them had “an item that may have been a hammer” in his hand.
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