ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - 3:15 p.m. Update:
A U.S. magistrate judge has agreed to release Anthony Johnson from jail for a few days while his family plans the funeral of Johnson’s 5-year-old son.
Johnson is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, after his son found and fatally shot himself with a gun in the family's master bedroom.
During that time out of jail, Johnson will be required to wear an ankle monitor, and will be mostly restricted to his home. His fiancée Jualisa House, the boy's mother, was assigned as his third-party custodian.
Johnson’s bail will be considered at a follow-up hearing scheduled for Dec. 11.
If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison with 3 years of supervised release, as well as a $250,000 fine.
Johnson is charged with being a felon in possession in a firearm. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Sayers-Fay, authorities were able to charge him federally because the firearm was manufactured outside of Alaska, and was therefore shipped in interstate commerce.
“The vast majority of the guns that are found in Alaska are manufactured outside of Alaska and so we do have an interstate commerce nexus and jurisdiction basically to pursue it,” she told reporters after the arraignment.
Federal prosecutors used a similar strategy in September to bring federal charges against two people accused of robbing two Anchorage coffee shops at gunpoint. Sayers-Fay says both cases are examples of the new violent crime strategy announced by the U.S. Attorney’s office in October.
“You’re really seeing the fruits there of what we promised a few months. Greater interaction between Anchorage Police Department, federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” she said.
The father of a 5-year-old Anchorage boy who shot and killed himself with a gun from a nightstand drawer has been arrested.
Anthony Johnnson faces charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, after law enforcement agents searched his home following the shooting death of his 5-year-old son.
They found that, in 2012, Johnnson was convicted of a felony charge of possessing a crack cocaine with the intent to distribute it. At that time, police wrote in charging documents that, "As Johnson was being ordered to the ground, he made a 'throwing motion' with his right hand and threw a bag of crack cocaine under the [SUV]."
Due to the conditions of his guilty plea, which can be found in full below, he was not allowed to possess any firearms. That includes the weapon that his son found Tuesday.
Police began looking in to Johnnson's record immediately after the boy's death on Tuesday. In the criminal complaint filed in the case, APD officers arrived at the Rocky Mountain Court home and found the boy with a gunshot wound to his head.
"Investigation at the scene revealed a handgun laying on the floor next to the deceased victim," authorities said in their report.
Further search into the home revealed a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol in the bedroom and ammunition for that pistol on top of the kitchen counter and inside the kitchen cabinet.
During police questioning, Johnnson admitted he purchased the handgun for his fiancée, the boy's mother, from a seller in Palmer five months ago.
In addition to the .40 caliber ammunition, APD officers found an "AR-style rifle magazine" containing live rounds, and 9-millimeter rounds. Johnnson said an acquaintance had asked him to hold on to the ammunition, as well as "several rifles," which Johnnson stored in the back of his fiancée's car.
Police determined the only occupants of the home at the time of the shooting were Johnnson, his fiancee, and the victim.
Johnnson is scheduled to be arraigned at the Federal Courthouse on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.