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Anchorage man pleads guilty in 2021 shooting that left one dead and four injured

May 16—An Anchorage man pleaded guilty Wednesday to shooting into a crowd of homeless people in 2021, killing a woman and wounding four other people.

Anthony Lee Herring, 24, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death of Jaclyn Welcome. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree assault for shooting and wounding four other people near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Gambell Street in 2021.

A plea agreement calls for Herring to serve 25 years in prison, Assistant District Attorney Patrick McKay said during Wednesday’s hearing. All other charges, including counts of first- and second-degree murder and attempted murder, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

A day before Herring opened fire on a group of people near Cline’s Tesoro Station, he had been arguing with a number of homeless people there, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. According to police, he worked at the gas station.

After the shooting, a video circulated on social media that showed two men confronting a group of people in the parking lot next to the gas station. The younger man threatened a woman with a baseball bat and insulted her.

In the early morning hours of June 19, 2021, Herring drove back to the area with his girlfriend, who told investigators he “complained about the homeless people who had gathered there and expressed his anger and frustration with them.” , the charging documents say. Then he started shooting, she said.

Herring was arrested the day after the shooting when he returned to the area for work, police said.

Ken McCoy, who was police chief at the time of the shooting, had said investigators did not believe Herring targeted the group because they were homeless but that his frustration with them escalated into violence.

McCoy described the crime at the time as the first mass shooting in the city in at least 36 years involving four or more people.

The four injured people were hospitalized for serious injuries, authorities said. Welcome, 37, died in the hospital after the shooting.

She was a loving mother of six children but struggled with addiction and mental health issues, her family said. A toxic relationship left her homeless for several years before her death, her family said.

Welcome wanted to reconnect with her family and make changes in her life, but the shooting dashed those hopes, family members said.

(Family of woman killed in shooting near downtown Anchorage describes life marked by struggle and hope)

Nearly a dozen of Welcome’s family members gathered in the courtroom Wednesday. They said they didn’t think a 25-year sentence was long enough for Herring and felt the sentence demeaned their lives.

“Twenty-five years? Get out of here. My daughter is worth more than 25 years,” Genevieve Nathan, Welcome’s mother, said through an American Sign Language interpreter.

Herring is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

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