A $10 bet between three roommates late Sunday evening went badly wrong.

The bet: Is the Carrs Safeway store on Debarr Road still open?

To figure out who was right, the men walked to the grocery store from a South Hoyt Street trailer that was their shared residence. The store is open 24 hours a day, according to its website, and it was in fact open when the group arrived.

"When they found out, (the victim) didn't want to pay up," said APD spokesperson Anita Shell.

No one was drinking at the time, Shell said, but an argument broke out among the group.

According to the unnamed 19-year-old victim, 25-year-old James Smith pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger. The gun was loaded but malfunctioned.

Smith and the victim fought for the gun, and at some point the other roommate -- 23-year-old Kendrick Mathews -- allegedly punched the victim.

The victim eventually controlled the gun and ran for the door. As he was running away from the trailer, Smith gave chase and struck him with a metal handle from a floor jack.

The victim made it to a nearby convenience store on Bragaw Street. He called police from there at about  11:30 p.m.

Officers arrested Mathews and Smith, both of whom are charged with assault. Smith also faces an attempted murder charge.

Shell said the victim was injured in the assault but not hospitalized.

"He sustained contusions and lacerations, so injuries were relatively minor," she said.


The victim addressed the suspects directly by telephone during an arraignment hearing Monday afternoon.

Arraignment hearings are held at a courtroom next to the Anchorage jail, where a line of defendants is separated by glass from a judge and lawyers. The hearings are held daily so defendants can be formally charged and terms of release set.

Defendants rarely speak during the hearings, as their comments could be used as evidence in subsequent hearings, and victims usually wait until a case has progressed to speak out.

But the victim in this case spoke out early, and one of the suspects fired back by discussing the alleged crime directly.

“He was the guy who was putting gas on the fire," the victim said of Matthews by phone. The victim then addressed Matthews directly: "You're the one who said, '"Shoot him, knock him down.'"

"All I did was rock you," Matthews said.

The judge advised the defendant to quit talking: "Sir, I wouldn't say anything," she said.

During Smith's brief hearing, he laughed and shook his head as the victim spoke via a telelphone call broadcast over an intercom to the courtroom. Smith said nothing audible in response.


Both men are being held in the Anchorage Jail. Smith is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail, Matthews in lieu of $15,000 bail.

They would need a court-approved third-party custodian in order to secure release, and they may not contact the victim or each other.

The victim said he is worried about Smith's potential release: "If he gets near me, I'm going to have to defend myself this time," he said. "I don’t want to do anything with these people.”

Channel 2's Chris Klint and Corey Allen-Young contributed to this story.

Editor's note: APD clarified that the victim, not the suspects as initially stated by police, lost the $10 bet.