A teen boy was fatally shot in Anchorage’s Abbott Loop neighborhood last week during a nicotine deal gone bad, according to charging documents.
One of three juvenile suspects in the case, 17-year-old Sakariya Abdulkadir Musa, was charged as an adult in the Tuesday death of 16-year-old Jersey Miller. He faces two counts of second-degree murder and one count of robbery.
Anchorage police took Musa and two other suspects – whom they have not yet identified – into custody shortly after Miller was found dead on the 7300 block of Cantonment Court, a quiet cul-de-sac of single-family homes.
Police initially declined to discuss further details of the case, noting that both the victim and suspects were juveniles. But once Musa was charged as an adult, his name and court documents were made public, offering the first glimpse at what prosecutors say happened last Tuesday.
According to the charging document police spoke with Miller’s girlfriend, who said he texted her that he planned to buy puff bars – a vape-type cartridge containing nicotine, sometimes laced with THC, according to the court document.
She also told them Miller had been talking with her on FaceTime just before the shooting.
“She said he was leaving to go outside and left the phone in the house on Facetime,” prosecutors wrote. “He never returned and (the girlfriend) hung up the phone.”
Police received a 911 call about the shooting at 2:46 p.m. Officers found Miller dead outside, with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Police used surveillance video from nearby homes to identify a sedan that had sped by Miller while he was walking. Police say the gunshot came from that car. There appeared to be three people inside it at the time of the shooting. Footage from traffic cameras across town led investigators to an apartment on East 20th Avenue. The car was parked outside, according to prosecutors.
Police detained a 15-year-old boy at the apartment for questioning. Officers say they found a box for a Glock 10mm handgun and ammunition, which were later seized under a search warrant.
According to the charging document, the 15-year-old told investigators Musa sold puff bars and used Snapchat to meet customers. He had picked up Musa and another teen boy in his mother’s car. Both of them were armed, with Musa carrying the Glock. The gun’s box was in his home – which the 15-year-old said they had recently bought from “a man in a white truck in a Carrs parking lot,” charges say.
At some point, the 15-year-old told police, he let the other teen drive with Musa in the back seat because “he took a hit and was high.”
After selling puff bars to one person, they met Miller who paid money for puff bars but didn’t receive any, charges say. Miller and Musa exchanged words at the window of the car, just before the teen at the wheel sped down the road, turned around at the cul-de-sac on Cantonment and drove past Miller.
“(The 15-year-old) reported Musa rolled down the rear driver’s side window and fired a single shot at Miller,” prosecutors wrote. “He reported seeing Miller’s hand in his pocket and him starting to raise his hand.”
The 15-year-old claimed Miller had a gun, although he didn’t hear Miller make any threats. Police didn’t recover a weapon on or near Miller’s body.
When police spoke with the driver, he admitted that the three had planned to take Miller’s money without giving him anything, but denied knowing Musa was going to fire on him. Prosecutors wrote that he also denied owning a weapon or having a gun at his home, but police found a gun on the deck of his home in a canvas bag.
Musa “initially denied everything” except for being in the car, according to prosecutors. He eventually admitted to riding in the back seat.
“Ultimately, he also admitted that he shot Miller from the rear driver’s window,” prosecutors wrote. “He did so because he thought Miller was going to shoot him. He said he meant to shoot in the air to scare him. He admitted that he never saw Miller with a gun.”
Musa said he had fired the Glock in the shooting. Police found the weapon at his apartment, with a serial number matching the box in the 15-year-old’s room.
Police said all three suspects were initially held at the McLaughlin Youth Center.
Court records show that District Judge Michael Franciosi set Musa’s bail at $250,000.
Back at Cantonment Court, a memorial marks the place Miller was killed. People have left stuffed animals, candles, a basketball, flowers and notes. A small awning protected it from the weather. Miller’s mother, Jennifer Miller, was at the memorial Monday reading condolence letters left by visitors.
Her Facebook page had similarly become a shrine to her son, featuring a photo of the memorial and a petition to stop the sale of puff bars.
Alaska Public Media’s Matt Faubion contributed information to this story.