Residents react to news homicides could be tied
The investigation continues into a man who shot an Anchorage police officer. Police have linked James Ritchie to one homicide, but said he could be responsible for five, including two that happened in August at Valley of the Moon Park.
The two victims in that case were Brie De Husson and Kevin Turner. Anchorage police Lt. John McKinnon said the men didn’t know each other and were probably killed minutes apart. McKinnon said De Husson was riding his bike when he was shot.
“Mr. De Husson, we believe, had been traveling down the trail and not associated with Mr. Turner at all and was likely just shot from a distance,” said McKinnon.
He said Kevin Turner, the other victim, was sitting at a picnic table a short distance away when he was shot and killed.
“He was probably just minding his own business and he was shot one time,” said McKinnon.
Police said the gun involved in all five shootings was the same. Now, they are actively investigating to see if 40-year-old Ritchie was the shooter in every case.
Ritchie was killed after shooting an Anchorage police officer downtown Saturday morning. News of his death seemed to bring relief to some people at Valley of the Moon Park.
“It is a great relief to feel that potentially, the gentlemen who is the cause of so much of this stuff is well and gone and I think that is a huge relief,” said Elizabeth Schafer, who lives near the park. “But I don’t feel any different coming out here per say. I was never not going to use the park and trails.”
Schafer said she didn’t feel afraid before the murders or after, she said she and her family use the trails every day.
Bruce Schuster said the murders never kept him away either.
“I kept coming to the park, it hasn’t dissuaded me. I’ve come at night. I’ve come in the morning. So, it hasn’t really scared me away.”
But one woman said she was concerned about the rise in violence in general.
“Almost every weekend we can hear that someone has been shot, it’s just scary,” said Elena Avelar.
Avelar said she wouldn’t feel safe walking the trails alone.