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Man charged with murder after Fairbanks shooting leaves 1 dead

Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 8:55 PM AKST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:40 AM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTUU) - A 41-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder after a Fairbanks shooting left one man dead Sunday night.

Joshua Eric Butcher surrendered to Fairbanks police Sunday evening after a shooting at the Safeway store on Airport Way, which left one dead and another injured.

According to a department press release, several 911 calls came in around 6:42 p.m. Sunday about shots being fired by a single man at the Airport Way location. Responding officers arrived to find one man lying on the sidewalk in front of the southern entrance, while a second victim was behind the customer service desk inside the store with a bullet wound to his foot.

According to a police release Tuesday, Harley Ray Titus, 41, died after being taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. The injured victim, Christopher Sanderson, described the alleged shooter as “heavy set male wearing a plaid shirt”. Sanderson is expected to survive.

Upon arriving at the scene, officers discovered a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun on the floor near the entrance, as well as numerous 9 mm rounds — some spent — and firearm magazines.

According to police, security cam footage at the store showed the suspect shoot the first victim in the abdomen as the suspect was walking into the store. Officers described the footage showing the suspect walking behind a row of registers, then turning around to exit the store. Charging documents describe “multiple gunshot defects” on the store walls, checkout registers and banners inside the store.

The Fairbanks Emergency Communication Center received a call shortly after the shooting was reported by witnesses at the store. Police say Butcher was standing outside the center with an empty gun holster and magazine holders, and told officers that he had been at Safeway but refused to answer questions until a lawyer could be present.

Law enforcement wrapped up their investigation around 2:30 a.m., according to an update.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information on the suspect’s identity.

Correction: This article had been updated to correct that both victims of Sunday’s shooting were male. The Fairbanks Police Department initially reported that there was one male victim and one female victim, but has since corrected that information.

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