ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The suspect in a triple homicide at an Alaska coin and precious metal shop told police he witnessed a shootout at the Anchorage business and left as bullets were flying, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday.
Anthony Pisano also told police that he “got involved with something and it got really bad,” and that, “It was self-defense.”
Pisano, 43, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Steven Cook, 31, owner of The Bullion Brothers, and two men who may have come to Cook’s aid.
Victims Daniel McCreadie, 31, and Kenneth Hartman, 48, lived in apartments in the building.
Pisano was arrested Tuesday after calling police. At his arraignment, he said he had recently retired from the military and could not afford a lawyer.
He has no prior criminal record, according to court records and a police statement.
Pisano was a paratrooper who served at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and retired July 31 as a sergeant 1st class, Army spokesman John Pennell said.
The precious metal shop is on the ground floor of a two-story building in midtown Anchorage next to a pawn shop and across the street from a print shop and pizza restaurant.
Witnesses reported shots just before 10 a.m. Tuesday. Police found McCready dead in the front doorway and his handgun nearby. Hartman was on the lower part of the front entryway.
Police discovered Cook dead inside the shop. He had been wearing a holster with a gun but the weapon has not been found.
A video surveillance system at The Bullion Brothers stopped recording 40 minutes before the shooting, police said.
The criminal complaint says Pisano called police after the shooting, said he provided security for the shop and had witnessed the two owners, Cook and Mike Dupree, argue before the shootout occurred. He told police that Dupree shot Cook.
Police interviewed a witness they identified in the document only as “MD” who said Pisano entered the shop, shoved “MD” out of the way and fought with Cook. Pisano pulled out a gun and shot Cook, the witness said.
“MD” said he wrestled the gun away from Pisano, fled and called 911.
“MD” told police he saw McCreadie walk out of his first-floor apartment with a gun and enter the shop. A witness staying with McCreadie told police additional shots were heard.
A third witness said Hartman walked to a stairwell leading to the shop after hearing shots. She did not see who shot Hartman but she found him mortally wounded near the top of the stairwell.