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Sunday, February 25, 2018
HomeAlaska NewsAfter midnight, Anchorage’s first murder of the year

After midnight, Anchorage’s first murder of the year

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz might have had it right all along: The city is perfectly safe, so long as you don’t go out after midnight or are not involved with the underground drug trade.

Berkowitz said that last September in the glib way he says stuff, and all hell broke loose among the citizens of Anchorage, causing him to take back those words. There had been 34 murders in 2016 and, by the end of 2017, there would be 35 — an all time record.

But maybe he was just being honest.

Hawkins

Thirty-nine-year-old Timothy Smith broke the Berkowitz safety curfew: Smith, who seems to have had no major brushes with the law and who seemed like a fairly happy-go-lucky guy, lasted just a few minutes past midnight on New Years Day, 2018 in Anchorage, before he was shot dead in the middle of downtown Anchorage.

Smith had been out celebrating the new year with a friend, someone described as the love of his life. He’d been riding a mechanical bull in a local nightclub, the Gaslight Lounge. And then, after the clock struck midnight, he was out on the street, where he went down in a hail of bullets near the Avenue Bar at 4th and D Streets.

Police are looking for occupants of a silver Chevy TrailBlazer that was in the area.

According to media reports, Smith was the father of two sons, ages 20 and 17. In 1996, he set the long-jump record for Dimond High School at more than 22 feet, a record that stands today. He was described as a handyman and auto mechanic, and on social media, his friends said that he brought a lot of joy to their lives.

Smith would have turned 40 on Jan. 3. Instead, he was the first homicide victim of 2018 in his hometown, where even the mayor said it’s not safe to be out after midnight.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Sad. Prayers for the family.

  • #FIREberko-stupid

  • Berko, the silent mayor. The invisible mayor. What does he do? Nobody knows. He keeps as low a profile as possible. No public appearances. Hides in his office. The ADN and TV stations give him a free pass. He hides, says nothing, avoids conflict … but is always at work behind the scenes to make unions happy and taxpayers more broke. I sure miss Dan Sullivan as mayor. The ADN was attacking him daily … because Sullivan was actually doing stuff he promised to do when he was campaigning – trying to cut union mafia costs. Berkowitz only shows up to say “crime is complicated”, “Anchorage is safe unless you are into drugs” and similar glib and arrogant dribble. The invisible mayor. For all we know, he could have moved out of Anchorage to Maui since he was elected.

  • So heartbreaking. Prayers for his family and loved ones.