Fairbanks man arrested for chopping another man to death with hatchet, authorities say

Published: Jul. 31, 2017 at 12:20 PM AKDT
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A man is in custody after authorities say he repeatedly struck another man in the head and neck with a hatchet. According to a spokesperson with the Fairbanks Police Department, the brutal attack was caught on security camera footage inside Club Manchu, a bar on Jesse Street in Fairbanks.

The victim, Mark Allen Mitchell, 46, was in Club Manchu on Saturday evening. In video surveillance footage, police say a man later identified as Brett Matthew Gilbert, 50, produced a hatchet and "without warning or apparent provocation," struck Mitchell on the left side of his neck, causing what police described as "immediate incapacitation."

"He was chopped," Yumi McCulloch, spokesperson with FPD said. "It was a cutting strike with the hatchet."

After Mitchell collapsed to the floor, police say Gilbert "continued to strike Mitchell multiple times in the face and neck with the hatchet." The attack only stopped after a bystander, who McCulloch said was an employee working at Club Manchu, grabbed Gilbert from behind and stopped the cutting strokes of the hatchet. Police say Gilbert fled the scene, but was later located at his home and arrested "without incident" late Sunday night.

Initially, Gilbert was arrested on attempted murder charges, because Mitchell was at first declared to be in life threatening condition after being cut and chopped in the head and neck. The victim was flown to Anchorage for treatment, however FPD said he was declared dead early Monday morning as a result of the injuries he sustained.

Now, Gilbert faces the charge of first degree murder.

As for the motive behind the attack, that remains unclear. "That's still an aspect that investigators are looking into. Right now it's not clear what led up to the attack," McCulloch said.