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Charges higher for alleged shooter

Nalan now faces a first-degree assault count after Thursday arraignment

Posted: December 23, 2011 - 1:05am

The Juneau man accused of shooting another person in the face with a firearm was arraigned in Juneau District Court on Thursday on harsher charges than originally anticipated.

Kenneth Edward Nalan is now charged with first-degree assault, a class ‘A’ felony. Police arrested Nalan on Wednesday for second-degree assault, a class ‘B’ felony, in connection with the Tuesday night shooting.

Judge Thomas Nave on Thursday read the 35-year-old construction worker the charges and set bail at $20,000, $5,000 as an unsecured appearance bond and $15,000 as a performance bond.

The shooting put the victim, John Nicholas Duran, 33, in critical condition at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, though Duran’s status has been upgraded since.

“He is out of ICU (intensive care unit), now listed in satisfactory condition,” said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg by phone Thursday afternoon.

Police first responded to a report of a shooting at Nalan’s house in the 3000 block of Glacierwood Drive, which is in Mendenhall Valley, Tuesday evening. An investigating Juneau Police Department officer later said the two men were friends and that Duran was shot in the face with a .357 handgun during a get-together at the house where alcohol was being consumed.

Nalan’s family members said the shooting was an accident. Brother-in-law John Day, who was in a back bedroom of the house with the two men when the shooting occurred, said Thursday in an interview Duran had found the gun in the house, and a struggle ensued between the two men as Nalan tried to confiscate the gun, he said.

“He was trying to get it away from him,” Day said. “It was an accident ... He’s our buddy.”

A phone call to Duran’s family Thursday went unreturned.

An affidavit filed on Thursday by District Attorney Dave Brower shows Nalan gave conflicting accounts of what happened that night, and that at one time he said it was self-defense, but then retracted that statement.

Nalan admitted to responding medical teams that he had shot Duran with the .357, the affidavit states, and then said Duran “threatened me really quick,” says the affidavit.

“No, I didn’t, liar,” Duran replied as he was receiving medical treatment on the front porch, according to the affidavit.

Nalan then began repeatedly apologizing to Duran, it states.

Nalan also told JPD that Duran had a “California style” knife and that Duran attacked him in the back bedroom, says the affidavit.

“Nalan did not know where the knife was, stating, “Ah, I don’t know, look around,” the affidavit read.

Police then found a pocket knife along with the firearm in the victim’s front pants pocket.

Nalan then told police that the knife wasn’t important, the charging documents state.

“He said that he and the victim were arguing and that the victim got Nalan’s gun and pointed it at him, contradicting his first statement that he (Nalan) grabbed a gun when Duran attacked him. Nalan said that he grabbed the gun in Duran’s hand and turned it toward the victim and pulled the trigger,” the document states.

Capital City Fire and Rescue took Duran to Bartlett Regional Hospital, then he was medevaced to Harborview.

Nalan is charged with recklessly causing serious physical injury to Duran by means of a dangerous instrument, a firearm. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Brower said in court that Nalan has a very minimal criminal history, citing driving infractions. Online records show he was convicted for driving while intoxicated in 1998 in Sitka.

Family said Nalan is originally from Skagway, and Nalan said in court that he worked for a construction company in Juneau.

Nave appointed the Public Defender Agency to represent Nalan, and scheduled another hearing for Dec. 30.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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