The entrance to the Kenai Police Department, as seen in Kenai, Alaska, on April 1, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)

The entrance to the Kenai Police Department, as seen in Kenai, Alaska, on April 1, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)

More details emerge in Kenai killing

The man accused of killing 31-year-old Stephanie Henson told police the two were friends, charging documents state

A Kenai man arrested on a murder charge Thursday admitted to shooting 31-year-old Stephanie Henson in the roadway on California Avenue earlier that day, according to charging documents.

Kenai Police Department Investigations Sgt. Ryan Coleman wrote in a Nov. 17 probable cause statement included with charging documents that on Thursday at around 4 a.m. the Kenai Police Department received reports of gunshots in the area of California Avenue and First Street, near Wildwood Correctional Complex.

A second caller, Coleman wrote, reported that he witnessed a person being shot in the roadway and that the suspect tried to load the person into a truck. The caller described the truck as a ‘90s model Chevy with a grill on the front and said the vehicle left the area heading toward Second Street.

As police officers responded to the scene, one officer saw a vehicle driving away from the area on N Forest Drive that matched the description provided by the witness and did not have any lights on. The officer tried to conduct a traffic stop, which escalated into a pursuit, before the driver ultimately stopped the truck after several miles, charging documents say.

Coleman wrote that 28-year-old Kevin Park, who was driving the truck, resisted arrest but was ultimately taken into custody. The truck was seized as evidence and towed to the Kenai Police Department. On Park’s person, charging documents say, was a handgun. Park also had blood on him, according to the documents.

Park was interviewed at Wildwood Pre-Trial Facility by an investigator who reported a “strong odor” of alcohol from Park. Per charging documents, Park told the investigator that he and Henson were friends and had spent the previous evening together. Park said that he and Henson visited a location that Coleman said Park would not disclose, where Park admitted to using meth. Park and Henson then traveled to the California Avenue area.

Coleman wrote that Park and Henson got into an argument and physical altercation and Park admitted to shooting Henson in the road on California Avenue. Park then told the investigator that he tried to put Henson in the truck to take her to the hospital, but fled the area after he was unable to load her in the vehicle.

A resident camera recording of the intersection of California Avenue and First Street was reviewed by officers and showed a struggle between two people and one person shooting the other, Coleman wrote.

Park is charged with one count of murder in the first degree, one count of tampering with physical evidence and one count of failing to stop at the direction of a peace officer in the first degree.

Alaska State Statute says that one of the ways someone commits murder in the first degree is when they cause the death of any person with the intent to cause the death of another person. A person commits the crime of tampering with physical evidence when they destroy, mutilate, alter, suppress, conceal or remove physical evidence with the intent to impair its verity or availability in an official proceeding or a criminal investigation.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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