Fairbanks Police Department

A shooting that left one man dead on Sunday morning may have been the result of negligence rather than foul play, according to recently released charging documents.

According to charging papers released late Monday, the man who was shot, Brian Simpson Jr., was coaching the man now accused in his slaying, Tyrese Roberts, on how to defend himself with a gun. It is unclear if Roberts thought the weapon was loaded when he fired it. Simpson had “manipulated the pistol, presumably to unload it” and gave it back to Roberts moments before the fatal shot was fired.  

“(Simpson) then attempted to coach (Roberts) what to do if attacked, asking (Roberts) what he would do under those circumstances,” the criminal complaint reads. Simpson then told Roberts to put the pistol against his head and shoot. “He did so, shooting Brian a single time in the forehead, causing Brian’s death,” charging documents state.

Police say alcohol was involved in the incident, but did not say if Roberts was intoxicated at the time.

On Sunday morning at 2:09 a.m. Fairbanks police responded to a call at 1366 Joyce Drive where they found Simpson, 27, dead on the living room floor. Also at the scene was “a deformity in the ceiling sheetrock, consistent with a bullet hole” and a 9mm Springfield Armory XD-M semi-automatic handgun identified as the weapon used in the shooting.

Initially, Roberts, 20, who lives in the home, told police that he was upstairs in his bedroom when the shooting happened. He said he heard two loud bangs and went downstairs to find Simpson on the floor. He then, according to his statement to police, “attempted life saving measures” before telling his mother, who called 911.

Detectives noted blood spray on Roberts’ shirt “consistent with proximity of airborne blood,” evidence that could place Roberts close to Simpson the moment he was shot, casting doubt on Roberts’ claim he was upstairs when Simpson was shot.

The body was taken to the state of Alaska Medical Examiners office for Investigation.

At 8:56 p.m., Roberts’ mother called police a second time, this time because her son admitted he had shot Simpson, according to the report. Police picked up Roberts for questioning at the police department, where after being confronted with his confession to his mother and the evidence of the blood spray, he admitted to shooting Simpson, the court documents read.

He was booked into the Fairbanks Correction Center where he is being held on a charge of manslaughter.

Anyone with additional information about the incident is asked to email fpdinvestigations@fairbanks.us or call 907-450-6550.

Contact staff writer Will Morris at 459-7582.