A man familiar to police attacked an Anchorage church last Saturday with a canister of bear pepper spray. A group of people were meeting at Anchorage Community House and The Church of Love for non-violent protest training. The man opened the door and started pepper spraying the room full of people.
Joni Bruner, an organizer with the group, said, “The door swung open and someone stared spraying us. All I could see is orange spray coming right at my face.”
Initially the police were seeking his identification and broadcast a wanted notice accompanying with it two photos of a man in his 50’s or 60’s with long white hair and a long white beard wearing black and holding what appears to be a small red purse.
The police department said, “All of the victims suffered varying degrees of discomfort and pain; medics responded and treated them for exposure.” Police say none of the victims recognized the suspect, who police described as having a stocky build.
Arrested for the crime is Bret Maness, 53, of Anchorage. He is familiar to the police because he has done time for murder, fleeing and eluding (a six hour chase in an RV) and weapons charges. Hundreds of tips came into the police department. Once they knew his name, they issued an alert stating he was most likely armed and dangerous.
He was located and charged with terroristic threatening, burglary, reckless endangerment, and 11 counts of assault in the fourth degree.