Man accused of Muldoon shooting pleads not guilty, court docs detail fight over marijuana
An Anchorage man appeared in court Saturday on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree assault for a shooting near Muldoon Road early Tuesday.
However, he says the men beat him and left him for dead.
Charging documents allege 23-year-old Christopher Birotte fired the shots that caused the death of 19-year-old Tiwan Johnson, Jr. and injured another man, and detail accounts from both sides of the fight.
The criminal complaint states at 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, the Anchorage Police Department received a call from a woman who said she was driving her brother to the hospital because he had been shot.
When police arrived to the hospital, they found the car she had described parked out front – doors open, still running. Blood and broken glass were found on the back passenger seat and door.
Two women were inside the hospital with the man, identified in the complaint as Johnson. The women were unharmed, but Johnson had a head injury and later died at the hospital.
APD’s investigation led detectives to learn that Johnson had been with friends earlier that evening – the two women and a man identified as “C” in the complaint. One of the women had agreed to give “C” a ride home and the group left together.
They then picked up another man and drove to a Holiday gas station, where Johnson and the man got out to get money, which was for purchasing marijuana from “C,” the complaint alleges.
The driver then drove the group to the liquor store at 171 Muldoon Road – where police later responded and found a red substance in the snow and glass fragments. One of the women and the three men got out to smoke. When a fight broke out between the men, the woman got into the front passenger seat of the car.
Johnson and the third man got into car and the driver began to leave the parking lot. The document states that “C” then fired shots into the car as it drove away, hitting both men in the back seat. When the driver realized Johnson was unresponsive, she drove to the hospital, but before they got there, the other man demanded she stop and let him out.
The man later went to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Police contacted him while he was still in the hospital, where he told them he had made plans with Johnson to buy marijuana from “C.” He said he was with the women and Johnson before they met up with “C.”
The group stopped at the gas station so he and Johnson could get money to purchase the pot, the man alleges in the document. Then “C” sent Johnson a text telling them to meet him at the Brown Jug parking lot.
The man told police it was during the exchange of money for the weed that things took a turn. Johnson got mad because “C” only gave them half the marijuana they paid for, the man told APD. Johnson and “C” began to fight and the man tried to break it up.
Johnson took a backpack belonging to “C” and went back to the car, the man told detectives. When the man got in the car, someone started shooting at them.
“[He] agreed that Johnson probably stole ‘C’s’ bag because he felt shorted off and ‘C’ shot at them because they stole his bag,” the complaint states.
The complaint says surveillance video of the area shows a car parked with its headlights on as well as several people who get out of the car and a subsequent struggle over a backpack. Two of the people – one with the bag – get into the rear of the car and drive away. As it does, a man chases the car and fires several rounds through the back passenger window.
The car, which was impounded by police at the hospital, had two backpacks inside, the complaint states. One had identification belonging to the driver and the other bag had a scale, electronics and a paystub with the name Christopher Birotte.
Birotte, who police say was a suspect in an unrelated crime in which the victim indicated he had a gun, stated that the group robbed him and beat him.
When police contacted Birotte, he said he had been hanging out with a woman at a house when he asked to leave. He, the woman, and two others left and picked up a man named “E.” Birotte told APD that “E” was wearing dark clothing and acting suspicious.
Birotte corroborated that the group went to the Holiday station and that the other two men went inside. “E” was trying to get weed, and they drove to a dark street to do the exchange, the document explains.
The 23-year-old asked “E” if he had change, but “E” said he didn’t. Birotte told police that he thought that’s why the two men had gone into the gas station.
“Birotte said that they were going to give him a donation but instead they beat him up, gave him a concussion and left him for dead,” the complaint reads.
He confirmed that his backpack was stolen in the fight, but alleged that there were no weapons involved.
In court on Saturday, Birotte’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea for both counts. Bail was set at $250,000, plus a $10,000 performance bond and requirement for a third-party custodian. Though the judge stated Birotte will not be released without another court appearance where both sides can make further arguments over bail.
Johnson’s mother spoke in court, saying she wants this case to be taken seriously.
“He took someone’s life. He took someone’s child’s life and I don’t want him to think that it’s OK,” she said.
Birotte’s attorney, Rex Butler, attested that his client was beaten – even though the man didn’t have any obvious injuries.
“He’s got what he describes as what may be a broken clavicle. He was kicked and stomped, OK? While on the ground. So the fact that you don’t see anything wrong with his face doesn’t mean that he wasn’t brutally beaten,” Butler said.
Butler said that there is no question that deadly force was used, but there is no question that a robbery occurred, too.
KTVA’s Eric Ruble and Jessica Stugelmayer contributed to this report.
The post Man accused of Muldoon shooting pleads not guilty, court docs detail fight over marijuana appeared first on KTVA 11.