Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Assisted Living Home Where Shooting Took Place Responds
An Anchorage man has been charged with first-degree attempted murder after Anchorage Police say he shot a woman multiple times in the head. He's being held at the Anchorage Jail on $500,000 bail.
An Anchorage woman is still in critical condition at a local hospital as she recovers from three gunshot wounds to the head and neck, according to Anchorage Police.
Police say Michael McEvoy, 21, shot Mozelle Nalan, 19, on Thursday around 6 p.m. at the Soteria House assisted living home, which houses people who suffer from mental illnesses. The house is located in Spenard.
McEvoy is charged with attempted first-degree-murder, first-degree assault, and two counts of third-degree assault.
According to charging documents, both McEvoy and Nalan lived in the house at one point during treatment, and their relationship was cordial. Investigators say they are still trying to figure what his motive was.
The Soteria House opened in September of 2009, and is funded by the Alaska Mental Health Trust. It’s an alternative to a psychiatric hospital for adults 18 and over who are diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s the first facility of its kind in Alaska, and is different than traditional treatment, as patients are given the option of taking medications but are not required to be medicated. They also focus on natural healing treatments, which include Yoga and meditation.
Dr. Aron Wolf, a psychiatrist with the Soteria House, says McEvoy had never shown any signs of violence while he was a resident at the home. He had been discharged for almost four months, but visited the home frequently.
“We have two staff on at all times 24/7, we have volunteers in addition to staff… we're well staffed and there is a structure,” he said.
Officials from the Soteria House say they had no clue as to how the man was able to get the .45 caliber handgun and a 9 mm handgun he brought that night.
“This was kind of an anomaly, it’s just an anomaly,” said Susan Musante, program manager with the Soteria House.
Nalan, the victim, had been discharged from the home four weeks ago and was working toward becoming a volunteer. The program encourages people who graduate from the program to come back and visit other patients for support.
Neighbors around the house say they’ve been dealing with the disturbances coming from the house since it opened.
“There have been loud noises, wee hours of the night, some people have been walking around at five, six, in the morning… screaming,” said Dasha Estalilla, a nearby neighbor.
But officials say they have been aware of the concerns, and are taking them seriously, but have no plans to close the facility.