Anchorage's 2019 homicide count on par with deadliest year on record
Just three months into the year, a recent rash of violence in Alaska's largest city has put the 2019 homicide count on par with Anchorage's deadliest year on record.
On Monday, April 1, court documents allege 25-year-old Martin Kignak punched, stomped and kicked 27-year-old Tony Susook before Anchorage police found them in a parking lot near A street and Benson Boulevard. Officers attempted life-saving measures, but Susook died.
Kignak is now charged with murder in Anchorage's 10th homicide this year.
In 2017, the deaths of 37 people were classified as Anchorage homicides. By April 4, there had also been 10 homicides.
While that count is equal to the current 2019 tally, the first 10 homicides of 2017 included three deaths that resulted from the Royal Suite Lodge fire.
Police characterize most of this year's homicides as isolated incidents or cases in which the victim and perpetrator knew each other. At least half them involve gun violence.
Even with new homicides piling up, APD detectives have continued to make progress on slower moving cases. Last Friday, the department announced an arrest in the 2018 New Year's Day killing of Timothy Smith, a case that went unsolved for more than a year.
In a previous interview, Sgt. Bianca Cross, the head of APD's Homicide Unit, said the while the calendar year is used to measure data, it doesn't affect investigations.
"We do whatever we can to move forward with these cases," she said. "They don't just end because a new year comes on."
Officer-involved shootings are excluded from yearly homicide counts.
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