William Beattus Vent

William Beattus Vent appears at his arraignment Sunday via closed circuit TV.

FAIRBANKS — One of two men reportedly involved in a Thanksgiving day home invasion and shooting was arraigned in Fairbanks court Sunday afternoon.

William Beattus Vent, 23, of Fairbanks, is charged with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and third-degree weapons misconduct, all felonies. Vent is being held on $250,000 bail at Fairbanks Correctional Center. 

Fairbanks police say Vent and co-defendant Michael Jordan Beard used a long crowbar to force their way through the door of a Southern Avenue apartment shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday. Both men were masked, dressed in black and armed with handguns, according to a criminal complaint filed in Fairbanks court.

Vent allegedly shot one of the three men inside the apartment and that man returned fire with a shotgun. Beard, 38, of North Pole, suffered a single gunshot wound and was medically evacuated to Seattle for treatment. Charges have not been filed against Beard but it is expected they will be, according to a news release issued by police Thursday. 

One of the apartment residents, who was wet and wrapped in a blanket when he spoke to police, said he was taking a shower when he heard loud banging and opened his door to find an intruder pointing a pistol at him. The man shut and locked his door, kicked out his window screen and jumped from the second floor onto the roof of a nearby shed. He took shelter at a neighbor’s apartment until police arrived.

The man’s brother, also a resident of the apartment, told police he was sitting on the living room couch when he heard someone banging on the front door. Two men entered the apartment and pushed past him so he locked himself in a bathroom and braced his feet against the door. The man said both intruders were calling his name and his brother’s name while they were in the apartment.

The third resident was found sitting on a bed and holding a towel to a gunshot wound to his abdomen. The man said he’d been shot by one of the intruders and had shot back with a shotgun. The man was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and doctors confirmed he’d been shot across the front of his abdomen between his belly button and pelvis. The bullet passed near vital organs before exiting the man’s body, according to the complaint.

Beard was found lying on a hallway floor with an apparent shotgun wound. Beard was dressed in black and a revolver-style pellet pistol was found nearby.

All of the victims said they did not know Vent or Beard, according to the complaint.

Surveillance footage from cameras on the front of the house showed both men enter the home and one of them running out a short time later. Witnesses described the man who fled as wearing a black hoodie and a black face mask with a white skull design on the front. 

Police and a K-9 unit followed shoe tracks in the snow and found a single, discarded black glove on Central Avenue. The tracks entered an alley behind Carr Avenue, continued on to Aurora Avenue and headed toward College Road. Police found a black Springfield XD pistol tucked under a tree in the alley. The pistol was loaded with a single, live .45 caliber ACP round in the chamber. A second glove and a face mask matching the description given by witnesses were also found in the alley. 

Vent was contacted by Alaska State Troopers at the intersection of College Road and Aurora Drive. Vent denied any involvement in the incident despite the fact his shoe prints matched those found leaving the scene. Vent became hostile, insulted the two detectives interviewing him, and at one point stuck his fingers in his ears in an attempt to block out their voices, according to the complaint. 

Vent told police he’d been riding around in a gray truck with a female friend and her boyfriend that morning. Vent said he got out of the truck and began walking after the methamphetamine he took made him anxious, according to the complaint. The female friend denied being in a vehicle with Vent that morning and told police her boyfriend didn’t have a driver’s license or a gray truck.  

Vent said he’d been at a shop on Minnie Street earlier and did not know Michael Beard. Surveillance camera footage taken at the shop that morning showed Beard and Vent interacting together before leaving in a red Toyota Corolla at 9:15 a.m. The same car was found at the end of the driveway at the Southern Avenue apartment, according to the complaint. 

Three spent Winchester .45 caliber ACP cartridges were recovered from the apartment. A locked case containing marijuana was found in a closet inside one of the bedrooms. 

Vent’s criminal history dates back to 2011 and includes convictions for third-degree weapons misconduct, second-degree theft, fourth-degree theft, shoplifting, using an unlawful method to take game and multiple counts of violating bail conditions. 

Beard’s criminal record includes a felony theft conviction for a March 5, 2015 incident in which he burglarized a home but was captured after getting the getaway vehicle stuck in the home’s driveway.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.