Admitted serial killer Israel Keyes told investigators he planned to test a new silencer in 2011 by shooting two people and possibly an Anchorage police officer at a park near the local airport, but decided against doing so when a second officer arrived, police said Monday.
Details about the incident, explained at an APD press conference Monday, were some of the latest pieces of information to emerge about Keyes, who admitted to killing Anchorage barista Samantha Koenig and Essex, Vt. couple Bill and Lorraine Currier -- as well as at least five other people -- before committing suicide in his Anchorage Jail cell Dec. 2. A service for Keyes was held in Washington state Sunday.
According to APD Chief Mark Mew, Keyes said he staked out several locations in the Anchorage area to assess them for a possible murder, including Eagle River -- where police found a cache of supplies for disposal of a body, including shovels and Drano pipe cleaner -- as well as Eklutna. He also staked out Earthquake Park “a time or two” during a timeframe of events Mew described as April to May of 2011, but decided there was too much traffic in the area.
Instead, Mew says Keyes selected a couple whom he was prepared to “essentially snipe” at Point Woronzof, near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. When an APD officer arrived Keyes considered also shooting the officer, but the arrival of a second officer shortly afterward deterred him from firing.
According to Mew, no formal call for backup was made by the first officer, but the second officer may have simply made a routine welfare check at Point Woronzof after a few minutes of radio silence. The officers’ names have not been released.
In a video released Monday, Keyes tells investigators he was “itching for trouble” at the time of his plans to test the silencer -- the same one he later used to kill the Curriers in June 2011 -- near his Turnagain home.
APD detective Monique Doll attributed Keyes’ behavior at the time, a sharp break from his usually methodical plans, to his becoming compulsive shortly before his March arrest in Lufkin, Texas on charges stemming from the investigation of Koenig’s kidnapping and killing.
Doll discussed Keyes’ motivations for his crimes at the press conference, saying he’d tortured animals and specifically ruling out reasons like a bad childhood or stress in his life.
“Israel Keyes did this because he got an immense amount of enjoyment out of it,” Doll said.
According to Doll, Keyes blamed the degree to which he had isolated his crimes for his initial hesitation to discuss them, during what eventually became an estimated 40 hours of interrogation by investigators.
“He was initially reluctant to speak about what he’d done -- not because of the subject matter, but because this was the first time he’d ever spoken about it aloud,” Doll said.
That distance also included Keyes’ response to seeing news stories on the people he’d killed, such as his retaliation for a Vermont news report implicating him in the Curriers’ deaths by temporarily refusing to speak with police.
“He enjoyed seeing media coverage of his crimes, as long as he wasn’t connected to those crimes,” Mew said.
While law enforcement officials knew much of what they revealed Monday eight months ago, a major factor in the release of information was consulting with the families of Keyes’ victims on what items to release.
“Many of these details the family of the victims don’t know,” Doll said. “We don’t want to further victimize these people who have already had a terrible tragedy.”
Keyes told investigators he had read about or researched numerous serial killers including Ted Bundy, but Doll said he neither patterned his actions on any of them nor claimed to be a serial killer himself.
“That was one of the things he very much wanted to prevent as this investigation progressed,” Doll said.
Despite Keyes’ aversion to classifying himself, that didn’t change his essential nature, according to APD officer Jeff Bell.
“I don’t think he had any intention to stop doing what he was doing,” Bell said.