Shooting Spree In Aniak Kills One, Wounds Another

Aug 28, 2017

In Aniak, one person is dead and another wounded in what appears to have been a violent crime spree.

At about 2 a.m. on Sunday, residents of a quiet, residential neighborhood awoke to a flurry of rifle shots. Joseph Yaska, age 29, is accused of shooting a family member twice in a domestic violence incident and then walking through Aniak, shooting at other people and buildings he saw nearby.

"He definitely terrorized the people in that neighborhood," said Hayes. "Everyone was very scared and taking cover, doing whatever they can to stay safe."

State Trooper Nicholas Hayes works with Bethel’s Violent Offenders Unit and is one of the officers investigating the incident. In addition to shooting his family member, Yaska is accused of shooting and killing a man in a nearby truck. He then allegedly assaulted a series of other Aniak residents. An Aniak-based Trooper tried to evacuate the neighborhood where the shooting was going on and then apprehended Yaska. Yaska was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.

Both Bethel’s Violent Offenders Unit and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation are still interviewing witnesses and processing the crime scene. According to Hayes, they expect the family member that Yaska is accused of shooting to survive. The Troopers will release the name of the man who died as soon as his family is notified.

Yaska is charged with murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree, misconduct involving a weapon in the second degree, and three counts of assault in the third degree - a charge which relates to assault with a firearm. He is also charged with assault in the fourth degree, or recklessly injuring another person.

Yaska was arraigned in Aniak this morning. KYUK’s investigation into this story is ongoing.