Murder suspect arrested after turning himself in at church
Anchorage police say drugs were being used in the apartment where a man was fatally shot early Wednesday.
Thursday afternoon Anthony Aumua, the man police say is the sole suspect in the murder, was arraigned and charged with one count each of first- and second-degree murder. Police identified the victim of the shooting Friday as 46-year-old Jerry Amos.
Aumua turned up at the Alliance Christian Fellowship Church in Eagle River, sometime Wednesday afternoon, just hours before its night service was set to begin.
Church spokesperson Danny Venhaus wasn't at the church when Aumua arrived, but said, "He was very nervous, was the word I heard and was wanting to talk to somebody, was very open to talking to somebody."
Police wanted to question the 34-year-old as part of the homicide investigation at a West 29th Avenue apartment. APD spokesperson MJ Thim told KTVA, Aumua told someone inside the church he had shot a man early that morning.
Venhaus confirmed that happened.
"He confided in one of our crew, our cleaning crew, that a crime had happened and he confessed that to the individual," he said.
According to Venhaus, only three staff members were inside the Church at the time. He credits them for remaining calm and sitting with Aumua until the police arrived.
"We didn't cause a commotion. We did not make a big deal out of it, and that allowed the interaction between him and the police to go peacefully," said Venhaus.
A criminal complaint against Aumua, written by APD Detective John Foraker, said a witness told police marijuana and possibly methamphetamine were being used in the room prior to the shooting. She said a man she knew as “Nephew” had been “sweating profusely, acting out of control, and violently throwing up;” he tried to call her after the shooting, from a phone number police linked to Aumua’s Facebook page.
A man who didn’t know Aumua by name, but was able to identify him from a photo lineup, said he heard a gunshot as he was heading toward the back of the apartment.
“When the witness turned around and looked back, he saw Jerry Amos down on his knees on the living room floor with his hand up,” Foraker wrote. “The witness saw the suspect holding the black semi-auto handgun in his right hand, pointing it at [Amos]. The suspect then approached [Amos] from the front and the witness observed him fire one more round into his chest.”
Another witness told police that she owned the murder weapon, and that after she heard gunfire she turned to see Aumua holding her gun. She asked him to give the gun back, then called 911.
Police initially called Aumua to set up an interview, and he said he would meet them near a Muldoon business. Detectives weren’t able to find him there, though, and he didn’t answer subsequent calls.
Police say Aumua was unarmed when he was taken into custody. Venhaus also confirmed that the church was briefly evacuated and no one was hurt in the incident.
"We're thankful for God for protecting us, you know, at the same time we also want to -- we also understand that somebody came into our midst that was looking for help," said Venhaus.
Wednesday night service went on as scheduled and included a prayer by church members.
"We prayed for him during the service, and in fact, we actually even -- even asked the policemen to tell him that we are praying for him," said Venhaus.
Aumua is scheduled for a pre-indictment hearing next Tuesday. He's currently being held at the Anchorage jail.