STRANGE CRIMINALS - SKULL TATTOOED JASON BARNUM
If you guessed three counts of attempted murder, you’re right. And if you said that those counts involved the attempted murder of police officers, you’re really good.
Officers were investigating a string of burglaries at an Anchorage, AK, hotel when Barnum opened fire, striking one of the cops. The officers on the scene returned fire, eventually striking Barnum in the arm. The Anchorage Daily News has more:
Described by police as a “serial burglar,” Barnum spent most of the past decade in prison on burglary and forgery convictions. The 37-year-old is now charged with attempted murder in the two-hour standoff that emptied the hotel, froze traffic on Fifth Avenue and drew nearly every on-duty police officer in the city.
Investigators arrested two others who were in the hotel room with Barnum — Stephanie Callis and Sam Williams Jr. — on warrants. District Court Judge Alex Swiderski set Barnum’s bail for the more serious charge at $500,000 at the Anchorage jail Friday afternoon.
Standing at the court lectern, Barnum shifted his weight from one foot to the other, glancing occasionally — the white of one eye black with tattoo ink — at reporters and bail bondsmen sitting in the gallery.
More charges may follow. Police say they‘re still piecing together what happened at the hotel and investigating Barnum’s role in the string of Anchorage break-ins. Unlike many burglars, police believe Barnum wasn’t waiting for people to leave their homes. He was sneaking in while the owners were still inside, Henry said.
But Barnum‘s tattoos aren’t the only oddity in the story. Police say that when they entered the hotel room and started questioning the occupants about the contraband in their room, they heard strange noises coming from the bathroom. Those noises were apparently one of the female suspects — Stephanie Callis — pretending to vomit in order to discourage officers from entering the bathroom and finding Barnum. But when officers were leading Callis away, Barnum emerged and opened fire.
The Daily News also has more on Barnum’s past, which includes eight and-a-half years in prison:
Since 2001, Barnum has spent roughly 8 1/2 years in prison. He was most recently released Dec. 30, 2011, after serving more than a year on a parole violation, according to the Department of Corrections. His distinctive tattoos once aided police investigators when a bank teller took note of the markings on his head and neck as Barnum tried to cash a stolen check.
Among Barnum’s convictions, according to court records:
• 1993 — first-degree burglary
• 1994 — burglary, larceny
• 1999 — resisting arrest, drunken driving
• 2000 — Second degree forgery, second-degree theft.
• 2004 — first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest
In 2000, Barnum cashed two checks stolen from an Anchorage home for $890, the charges say. He was connected to another burglary that year when guns, jewelry, checks and other items were stolen from two other homes, court records show.
In one 2004 case, Barnum was spotted walking out from behind a garage wearing a white hard hat. When the homeowner confronted him, Barnum mumbled that he was looking for a light pole, according to a police complaint. The homeowner went inside to find his house ransacked.
A series of burglaries Wednesday night and Thursday morning led police to Barnum’s hotel, but he may be connected to other break-ins that investigators don’t know about, Henry said. The thefts have been reported in the upper Hillside and Rabbit Creek area, he said, with about seven known burglaries so far.
Barnum allegedly confessed his burglaries to police and said they were an attempt to pay for a heroin addiction.