Government Hill poker game ends in gunfire, robbery
A poker game last weekend in Anchorage’s Government Hill neighborhood ended with one of its players facing robbery charges, after police say a bad hand made him pull a handgun.
An APD statement Tuesday evening said Amar O. Azzam, 28, was charged with four counts of third-degree assault and three counts of weapons misconduct in the case, plus single charges of robbery and evidence tampering.
Reports of "someone firing shots in the air" at about 11:50 p.m. Saturday led responding officers to the game, at an apartment complex near East Bluff and Richardson Vista drives.
“During the game Azzam, who had been drinking, thought he had been cheated and became angry,” police wrote. “Azzam pulled out a handgun, ran the slide, and demanded money. Azzam was given money and then Azzam and his girlfriend left the building.”
At least four other people were in the apartment according to a charging document against Azzam, including two who were playing poker with him when he allegedly drew a gun due to his losses.
One victim told police that Azzam then “demanded his money back or he would shoot himself.” Another “believed that [Azzam] was too drunk to handle a handgun and said he was not afraid. However, the victim did give the defendant about $100.”
Shortly afterward, Azzam left the apartment. The witnesses said he then fired about half a dozen rounds outside.
Responding officers reviewed surveillance video from the apartment building, prosecutors said, and saw two people running from the apartment then getting into a car. Police said they subsequently found Azzam as a passenger in a blue 2003 Ford Explorer, when they conducted what the document describes as a “high-risk traffic stop” near 16th Avenue and C Street.
“A gun matching the description (given) by the victims was found in the glove box,” prosecutors wrote.
Azzam’s girlfriend wasn’t charged in the case, police said.
Azzam was arraigned Sunday, court records show, with his bail initially set at a total of $85,000 and house arrest required for his release. He remained in custody Wednesday at the Anchorage Jail, according to a statewide inmate database.
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