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Fight on school grounds ends in weapons charge

Daily News Staff Writer

A group of about seven teenagers met Tuesday evening at Dudley Field on Ketchikan High School grounds for a fight that ended in Cristian Fernandez-Alexie, 19, allegedly brandishing a gun and chasing three teenagers, according to statements made to Ketchikan Police Department Officer Derek McGarrigan.

None of the teenagers involved were Kayhi students, according to KPD Police Deputy Chief Eric Mattson. However, they were in the age range of 14 to 17 years.

Two people were arrested in connection with the incident. Fernandez-Alexie was charged with assault in the third degree, a felony offense; and misconduct involving a weapon in the fourth degree. The charges for the other individual who was arrested were turned over to Juvenile Probation.

The fight allegedly between Fernandez-Alexie and one of the 15-year-olds, concerned an illegal transaction of a low-end narcotic earlier in the day and that both sides were unhappy with, according to Mattson.

Before the start of the fight, Fernandez-Alexie allegedly brandished a .380 Ruger handgun before it was passed off to the 17-year-old, according to the KPD probable cause statement.

No injuries beyond a few scrapes and bumps around the body and hands were sustained during the fight.

"There wasn't even a black eye from any strike to the face," said Mattson, "It was more of a kind of a sparring, wrestling, trying to grab neck and head kind of match."

Mattson said that the fight lasted a few minutes and they went two rounds, taking a break in between.

During the second round, the 17-year-old pulled the gun out to stop the fight and a 14-year-old picked up a rock to defend the 15-year-old in the fight, according statements made to police and reflected in the probable cause statement.

Fernandez-Alexie then got the gun back from the 17-year-old, and some of the teenagers took off running.

According to police documents, one of the teenagers said, "After the fight, the defendant chased (the) group away while the gun was pointed at them, (he) said he was afraid, and he was ducking behind cars as they ran away."

The incident was reported to a principal in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, who then relayed the incident to the School District Superintendent, Beth Lougee.

Mattson said the police were contacted by school administration about the incident around 8:22 a.m. on Wednesday, and KPD have been working in coordination with the superintendent.

School District Superintendent Beth Lougee did not return a Daily News phone call by press time on Thursday.

Lougee sent out an email to parents Wednesday morning, stating that she and the principals of each school decided "to lock all outside building doors for a short period of time" in relation to an incident that happened the night before.

"There was never any type of a threat or anything imminent with the schools," said Mattson. "They were just notified that there were some possible students involved from the night previous."

Mattson said that there wasn't any video evidence of Tuesday's incident from the school that he knew about, but said the district has had video in the past.

A Ruger .380 was located at 9 a.m. Thursday morning on the premises of a residence of one of the 15-year-olds present at the fight at Dudley.

The Ruger was hidden under some rocks near the residence. After the teenager informed his guardian about it, the police were contacted.

Fernandez-Alexie was arraigned in Ketchikan District Court on Thursday. Ketchikan District Court Judge Kevin Miller set his bail at $10,000; $2,000 cash appearance and $8,000 cash performance.

Fernandez-Alexie has a Ketchikan address, but it is unclear how long he's been in the area. Mattson said some of his family has called from further north in Alaska.

Fernandez-Alexie has no previous criminal record in Alaska. His next court appearance is Sept. 19.

All Ketchikan school district principals recently underwent shooter safety training with the Ketchikan Police Department. The school district has also been asking for state funding in the amount of $498,000 in security upgrades for Ketchikan High School.

At the Ketchikan Gateway Borough meeting on Tuesday, Lougee said, "the cameras currently at the high school don’t' function at the capacity we need to ensure safety for students and staff."

Assembly Member Sven Westergard asked whether the $50,000 camera upgrades could be delayed another year and Assembly Member Alan Bailey questioned whether the security cameras were the best way to establish preventive security measures.

Assembly Member Felix Wong said, "I think in the interest of safety — of the high school students and the rest of the school district — I think this is a willful investment."

The borough is expected to make a final decision regarding its fiscal year 2021 requests for state funding at a later meeting.