Fairbanks Police Say Alcohol Factor in Soldier's Shooting Death
FAIRBANKS — An inadvertently loaded pistol in the hands of a highly intoxicated soldier led to the death of another soldier Sunday night, according to a criminal complaint.
Joshua Jordan Corona, 21, is being held without bail at Fairbanks Correctional Center on a charge of second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Jawaun Collins, 19, early Sunday morning in the presence of four witnesses at a South Fairbanks apartment.
Corona reported the shooting a few minutes after midnight at his home, but initially told police Collins accidentally shot himself, according to the criminal complaint Fairbanks police filed Tuesday against Corona.
When police arrived they found Collins was already dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Police said Corona’s wife also said Collins shot himself.
Later Sunday morning, the Army Criminal Investigation Division contacted Fairbanks police to say two witnesses had come forward with a different account.
The witnesses, who both went to basic training with Collins and Corona, said they had been at Corona’s home the night before. They reported Corona was carrying a pistol as he came out of a bedroom with Collins and said they saw Corona put the gun to Collins head and pull the trigger.
One of the witnesses reported Collins “made a statement to Corona that he should just shoot him in the head,” police said.
Both witnesses said Corona appeared to be clearing a jam from the gun before firing and one witness said Corona might have taken the magazine out the pistol.
Police later spoke with Corona’s wife again and said she admitted fabricating the story about Collins accidentally shooting himself in the head. She said she was the only sober person in the apartment Saturday night and she had seen Collins and Corona come out of the bedroom and heard Collins tell Corona to shoot him, according to police. She said Collins got down on his knees and Corona ejected a round from the gun and shot Collins in the head.
Her husband did not believe the gun was loaded when he pulled the trigger, she said. After the shooting, she told police, she picked up the gun with a towel and took out the magazine.
Police reported finding two unspent rounds on the floor but weren’t able to recover the casing from the shot that was fired.
Police interviewed Corona again Sunday night. He said he was very intoxicated at the time of the shooting but remembered clearing the pistol and believing it was not loaded, according to charging documents.
“He recalled Collins being ‘lower’ than him and the feel of the recoil of the pistol in his hand,” police said.
Police arrested Collins Monday afternoon. At his arraignment Tuesday afternoon, Corona broke into tears when Magistrate Kirk Schwalm asked him if he had read the charges against him. Corona said he had just read the first line.
Corona said his family plans to hire an attorney to defend him.