Alaska Army veteran shot 2 people using military training, charges say

Published: May. 18, 2018 at 9:12 AM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

After an altercation involving theft, a hammer, and a double shooting, an Alaska Army veteran admitted to opening fire in self defense, and in anger.

In court Thursday, Rusty Tuuaga, 34, said he shot two people who approached him on Wednesday, one armed with a hammer, over an allegation that he had their property.

According to court documents, the wounded man said "Rusty" to officers several times after they found him and the woman, who was also shot, lying on the ground near the Econo Inn on 5th Avenue.

The female victim told police she and the man, armed with a hammer, approached Tuuaga's SUV because they recognized it. In the document, she recounted how she claimed the shooting happened.

"[The woman] stated that Tuuaga shot [the man] and he went down. [The woman] stated that she also went down and did not immediately realize that she had been shot too. [She] stated that Tuuaga hovered over her and [the male victim[ and was grunning before running away," documents stated.

In the same document, police interviews reflected that Tuuaga did not dispute this series of events. He also claimed that while he shot the hammer-weilding man because he was afraid, he shot the unarmed woman "because he was angry."

"Tuuaga stated that lately he was growing tired of [the two shooting victims] following him and asking for their property back so he got a handgun from his cousin," the affidavit states.

"Tuuaga admitted to shooting [the man] because he was afraid for his safety when [the man] approached with a hammer. [...] Tuuaga denied being in fear of [the woman] and stated that he shot [her] because he was angry."

In addition to emotions fueling the incident, Tuuaga also noted that his army training came into play when he fired the rounds that struck the two victims.

“Tuuaga stated that he shot toward the center of mass on each of the victims as he had been taught to do in the U.S. Army. Tuuaga admitted that he intended to kill [the two victims] by shooting them center of mass.”

Both victims survived the incident, and now Tuuaga is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder, assault, tampering with evidence, and reckless endangerment.