Man charged in Anchorage paintball attack

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A 20-year-old man was charged with seven counts of misdemeanor assault Tuesday in connection with paintball shootings Jan. 14 that targeted Alaska Natives.

Charles Deane Wiseman, who was 19 at the time of the incidents, pleaded not guilty in Anchorage District Court.

''He voluntarily came into court with his lawyer to answer to the charges,'' said Assistant District Attorney John Novak said.

Novak identified Wiseman as the man who sat in the back seat of a car videotaping two juveniles, including Wiseman's brother, shooting male and female victims in the downtown core and Mountain View areas with paintballs paintballs.

Novak said Wiseman did not shoot any of the victims but is charged as an accomplice.

''He is encouraging, asking them to do the shooting,'' Novak said, and he helped lure victims closer to the car.

The two boys in the car, both 17, face proceedings in juvenile court and their names will not be made public unless they're waived to adult status through the efforts of juvenile authorities, Novak said.

Wiseman was released on his own recognizance after arraignment. He is banned from the downtown area except for visits to court or to his attorney. He is restricted to his parents' home from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., except for employment, Novak said.

In a highly detailed charging document, Novak laid out how Wiseman and the two juveniles were tracked down after one of the victims recorded the license plate of their car, and why Wiseman was not charged with more serious crimes.

Amy Keltner called in the initial report. She said she had been shot twice with a paintballs. She said a silver Subaru with three white males had circled the block three times, allowing her to record the license plate.

The car was registered to a home in Eagle River. At the home, a police officer interviewed Wiseman's brother, who had come home to retrieve a video cable so the three could watch the tape at another home.

''The one returned home to get the cable and while he was there the officer greeted him,'' Novak said.

The officer received permission from Wiseman's mother to confiscate a paintball gun from the vehicle. At the other home, the officer interviewed Wiseman and the other juvenile and seized the approximately 25-minute videotape.

The tape depicts the three announcing their intention as they leave Eagle River, about 15 miles north of downtown Anchorage.

''We're going to Anchorage to go nail some Eskimos, also known as muktuks,'' a voice on the tape says. Muktuk is the outer skin and attached blubber of a whale, considered a delicacy in Eskimo culture, and a racist name for Alaska Natives.

Novak said Wiseman's brother drove the car. According to charging documents, the other juvenile was the principal shooter, firing at all the victims except for one fired at by the driver.

Novak said fourth-degree assault charge requires that a victim sustain physical injury or fear physical injury. To prove felony assault, Novak said in his charging document, a victim must fear injury or death from a dangerous instrument. The state could not prove that a paintball gun as it was used could cause death or serious injury, Novak said.

All the victims mentioned in the charges, except for Keltner, were Alaska Natives. Keltner's shooting was not recorded on videotape.

The videotape shows male and female victims flinching as they're hit, including victims trying to shield their faces after being struck at close range and others glancing around in bewilderment as the marble-sized balls hit buildings and other objects.

The tape recorded the youths laughing derisively at their targets.

In once instance, the three pretended to be tourists to lure a victim closer.

Federal officials also are reviewing the incident. Alaska has no law recognizing hate crimes.

Paintball guns are generally used in mock combat in outdoor locations and in indoor games such as tag and capture the flag.

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