Man accused of assaulting Anchorage hikers is back in jail

BasherTrail Entrance leading from parking lot
The Basher Drive trailhead in Anchorage on Thursday. (Shiri Segal/Alaska Public Media)

A man accused of assaulting and threatening people last week on Anchorage trails is back behind bars Thursday, after he allegedly assaulted another group of hikers upon his release on initial charges.

Police said in a statement last week that Sean Ahmed, 38, was first arrested last Friday on four counts of assault.

In the days prior, officers had received multiple reports of a man threatening and assaulting hikers and walkers on local trails, mostly on the eastside of town. The calls to police included reports of a man yelling, throwing rocks and punching people.

On Friday just before 4 p.m., police got another call: Someone reported overhearing a man threatening someone at the popular Basher Drive trailhead. Police said the caller’s description of the man matched the suspect in the previous reports. A responding officer found Ahmed on the trail.

“Upon seeing the officer, the suspect walked away into the woods,” police said. “Once backup units arrived, the officers located the suspect lying down in the trees; he was detained without further incident.”

Ahmed was taken to the Anchorage Correctional Complex. He faced assault charges in two of the Thursday incidents. Police said investigation continued into the other reports, and more charges could follow.

Then, on Saturday, Ahmed was released from jail, court records show.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that state prosecutors declined to pursue charges because they didn’t rise to the felony level, and the municipal prosecutors said they didn’t process the case Saturday because of a timing issue.

A day later, on Sunday, police charged Ahmed in another assault at the Basher Drive trailhead.

According to a charging document against him, officers responded to the area at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday. A woman in a group of three hikers said she saw Ahmed as they walked a boardwalk. When he saw the hikers, she said, he stepped away and returned with a stick that was 6- to 7-feet long, then “held the stick out in front of him like a sword blocking part of the boardwalk.”

“The victim recognized the defendant from the news and social media as the person who had been assaulting people on the trails,” prosecutors wrote. “Fearing for her personal safety and that of her two friends, the victim drew her bear spray to defend herself and her friends. The victims’ two friends also drew their bear spray.”

The woman told police Ahmed threw the stick away and walked away.

Officials with the state Department of Law said the cases against Ahmed have been transferred to the municipal prosecutor’s office. Acting municipal prosecutor Dustin Pearson said in an email Thursday that his office had only charged the Sunday case against Ahmed, with further municipal charges in one of the state cases pending.

A manager at the Denali Law Group, listed as representing Ahmed, declined to comment on the cases Thursday.

Ahmed was again being held at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on Thursday. Court records show a judge in one of the cases against him ordering an examination of his mental competency to stand trial. His family told the ADN that he had been struggling with worsening mental illness. 

a portrait of a man outside

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him more about Chrishere.

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