April 30, 2015 - 5:00 AM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Three men have been accused of stabbing a young moose to death at a popular park in Alaska's largest city, and police said witnesses reported seeing the men jumping on the animal, kicking it and attacking it with a large knife.
The men were in custody Wednesday in the death of the yearling moose Tuesday night near a bike trail in Anchorage's Russian Jack Springs Park. All three were arrested on charges of animal cruelty, wanton waste of big game and tampering with evidence.
Witnesses called shortly before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and police officers quickly located the suspects nearby. The men had bloody clothes and matched the description of the suspects provided by witnesses, police said.
The animal was found dead. Police said the moose had several lacerations, and tufts of hair had been pulled from its body. A police dog and its handler later found several knives that are believed to have been used in the attack.
A local charity recovered the remains of the moose to salvage the meat, according to police spokeswoman Anita Shell.
Moose are a common sight in Anchorage, and on rare occasions have charged at humans. The massive animals, however, generally coexist peacefully with humans and their pets.
Shell said she could not recall a moose attacked in the same way in her 25 years with the department. She said no motive was described in police reports on the incident.
"Certainly, people have defended themselves against moose if they're being trampled," Shell said. "But I've never seen anything like this."
The suspects were identified as Johnathan Candelario, 25, James Galloway, 28, and Nick Johnston, 33. They were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon. It was unclear if they have attorneys.
Shell, a lifelong Anchorage resident, said the only violent incident on the level of Tuesday's attack that she could recall was a local pet reindeer named Star that was kidnapped and butchered decades ago.
In 1985, a convicted meat thief from Fairbanks stole the young reindeer from her pen, beat her to death in a field and cut her into pieces. Police were tipped that the man was bragging about the killing, and he was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading no contest.
The reindeer was the second in a still ongoing series of pet reindeers by that name.
News from © The Associated Press, 2015