McCarthy Massacre- McCarthy AK 1983
I will be spending a total of 11 days in the town of McCarthy, current population of 42, over the course of my summer.
McCARTHY, Alaska, March 2 - An unemployed computer programmer has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths Tuesday of six of the 22 residents of this snowbound back-country village.
Louis D. Hastings, 39 years old, was also charged with one count of assault in the first degree at his arraignment today in Anchorage. Mr. Hastings, who was being held in $300,000 bond, did not enter a plea. The authorities said they had no clue as to what prompted the shootings.
Christopher Richards, one of the injured survivors, told the police he vividly remembered the words of the man who shot him: "'look you're already dead. If you'll just quit fighting, I'll make it easy for you.'"
Instead, the 29-year-old Mr. Richards said, he grabbed a knife, slashed his assailant and fled in his stocking feet into the snow.
Safety 100 Miles Away
He was picked up by a neighbor on a snowmobile and taken to an airstrip in this old mining community in the Wrangell Mountains 225 miles east of Anchorage. McCarthy is inaccessible by road in the winter and has no telephone service.
A private pilot flew Mr. Richards 100 miles north-west to Glennallen, where the state troopers were told of the shootings. Officers flew to here and arrested Mr. Hastings, who was on a snowmobile 20 miles from McCarthy. They said he had offered no resistance but declined to say whether he was armed.
Mr. Hastings was treated at Faith Hospital in Glennallen for cuts, which Trooper Ken Lewis said appeared to be knife wounds.
Mr. Hastings told a magistrate he had been living in a house he owns near McCarthy for eight months. State troopers said he apparently was last employed three years ago in California.
State troopers, who declined to identify the dead, today began preparing to remove the victims. Three bodies were alongside a snow-covered airstrip on a bluff overlooking McCarthy.
Three of the dead lay under a bright orange tarpaulin about 50 yards outside a house where they were found.
"There was a lot of shooting that went on inside that house," said Capt. Jim Landsberry. "There were a lot of bullets sprayed around."
Woman Was Also Injured
Donna Byram, 32 years old, was injured along with Mr. Richards, but the authorities would not allow her to be interviewed.
From his hospital bed, Mr. Richards said that the gunman had shot him "completely out of the blue." He described how the attack occurred after he invited the gunman into his cabin for a cup of coffee.
As he reached for a cup, Mr. Richards said, he felt something hit him near the right eye and realized he had been shot. Another bullet hit him in the neck, he said, and then he heard the man tell him not to fight.
At one time, McCarthy was home to 1,00 people. Gold was the discovered in the area at the turn of the century, and until 1938 the Kennecott Copper Company operated a mine about six miles from the village.
You can check out the whole story at http://influx.uoregon.edu/1998/mccarthy/