Remembering victims of homicides across Alaska during a memorial ceremony in downtown Anchorage

Anchorage homicide memorial at Hostetler Park
Anchorage homicide memorial at Hostetler Park(KTUU)
Published: Jul. 11, 2021 at 10:20 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -Anchorage’s annual Homicide Memorial Ceremony brings an opportunity to raise awareness and express grief while honoring Alaskans whose lives have been cut short due to senseless acts of violence.

“This memorial not only serves as a remembrance of victims of homicide, but it also serves as hope for the future,” said Sean Case, a captain with the Anchorage Police Department who spoke at the event.

Each pillar at Hostetler Park is engraved with the names of victims of homicide in Alaska. 29 names were added Saturday by the group Victims for Justice.

“This is something we all need to be thinking about,” said Victoria Shanklin, executive director of Victims for Justice. “This is something that is impacting all of us, and we need to understand how to best support those who have lost a loved one.”

Among the names added to the memorial Saturday is Chase Bowerson, whose life was taken by a senseless crime in January. He was just 26 years old.

“This is the type of loss that, from my perspective, your wound doesn’t heal,” said Jeff Trent, Bowerson’s father. “It’s been six months since we lost Chase, and just the other day, I felt like this wound to me is just as raw and fresh as it ever was.”

Trent says Chase was a good guy, adding that he was young and ambitious, possessing many good qualities.

“After his passing, I learned even more about him and some of the things he was doing, like charities, and just all these stories came out,” said Trent. “People (were) sharing instances where he’d help people that were less fortunate or needed help.”

Trent is among several others who gathered at the Homicide Memorial ceremony who are also remembering and grieving the loss of their loved one.

“Every life that we lose, it’s not just one individual or one family that’s impacted — it is our entire community, and we feel that impact every single time,” said Shanklin.

The pain extends beyond the families directly impacted. Shanklin says eight names a year added to the memorial used to be the average, but in recent years, she says unfortunately, it’s far exceeded that amount and that there are now over 450 names, and that the memorial site at Hostetler Park is running out of space.

“The whole society needs to act like this is a real problem that we have, and we all need to band together to keep it from happening to others,” said Trent.

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