Juneau Highway Gunfight Followed Friday’s Drug-Related Shooting

Officials and court records have revealed new arrests and information in Friday’s shooting and bogus kidnapping in Juneau, now tying it to drugs and an early morning highway gunfight that no one had reported to police. The case involves heroin, which has become extremely profitable in the capitol city in the last few years.

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When police shutdown the outbound lanes of Egan Drive late Friday morning, they now say they were searching for evidence from a highway gunfight stemming from a drug deal.

Friday’s shooting at the Coho Park Apartments after midnight was followed by an early morning exchange of gunfire from two moving vehicles on Egan Drive between “the parties” involved in the first shooting. That’s according to a press release the Juneau Police Department put out Monday.

Police say there were no injuries in the second shooting and that it went unreported.

Police had shut down the outbound lanes of Juneau’s main road artery by 10:22 a.m. Friday to collect evidence.

So far in the alleged drug deal turned shooting turned highway gunfight turned faux kidnapping, police say they’ve arrested three people, all Juneau residents:

  • 44-year-old James Depasquale, aka James De Pasquale III. Police say Depasquale was shot twice at the Coho Park Apartments and was taken to the hospital from the scene. The latest police statement says “the parties” involved in the initial shooting were also in the highway shooting; it’s not clear how, if at all, Depasquale could be involved in the second shooting after he’d been hospitalized. Police could not be reached to clarify.
    Court records show charges for seven felonies and one misdemeanor pending against Depasquale that are consistent with drug dealing, gunplay and tampering with evidence. They also show that about 11 hours before he was shot, the courts had issued a warrant for his arrest – he’d been on probation for an assault in July.
  • Second, 24-year-old Jerall Torres. Court records show he’s facing two felony charges. One is for drugs. The other is for gunplay specifically from a moving vehicle. The vehicle hunt that police solicited the public’s help with Friday was for a truck that Torres reportedly left the initial shooting in. However, officials picked him up around 8:12 a.m. Friday in a sedan with…
  • 26-year old Amanda Phillips. Phillips is facing a felony charge for tampering with evidence. Police accuse her of hiding the handgun that Depasquale used.

All three are due in court today.

Police have mentioned two more people somehow involved, but haven’t identified them by name:

  • A 22-year-old woman who reported her kidnapping and escape from a man involved in the initial shooting Friday. Police now say she was “voluntarily involved” with Depasquale and Torres and that the kidnapping was likely a fabrication.
  • Finally, police mentioned an unidentified third man involved in the highway shooting. Police did not elaborate on his role.

A police spokesman said Friday up to 6 search warrants were pending.

(Click here for a full screen version of this interactive timeline of Friday’s events.)

Jeremy Hsieh is the deputy managing editor of the KTOO newsroom in Juneau. He’s a podcast fiend who’s worked in journalism since high school as a reporter, editor and television producer. He ran Gavel Alaska for 360 North from 2011 to 2016, and is big on experimenting with novel tools and mediums (including the occasional animated gif) to tell stories and demystify the news. Jeremy’s an East Coast transplant who moved to Juneau in 2008.

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