- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The person killed in an early morning Saturday shooting was 18-year-old Alex Thanapong Yu, according to Anchorage police.

Yu was shot and killed around 1:20 a.m. on the dance floor of the Alano Club, the Alaska Dispatch News reported (https://bit.ly/1MDtQRx ). Witnesses said his lifeless body lay under the disco ball while others fled the club.

The sober club on Spenard Road is known as a longtime Anchorage hangout for recovering alcoholics and a late-night weekend dance spot for teenagers. It was rented out for a dance party Friday night.

The Alano Club would not say who hosted the party.

Anchorage police were releasing few details about the shooting Sunday. The police have not made arrests but believe the shooting was a “targeted event,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. Detectives are investigating.

Arraya Thepuxsonnarong, Yu’s mother, said she was told her son was shot in the chest at close range.

Yu was born in Thailand and raised by his father and paternal grandparents in Sri Lanka. Yu moved to Anchorage to live with his mother after he finished middle school.

His parents say the boy hit a rough patch as he became a teenager.

“Then came the dangerous years when he turned 15,” his father, Yowsan Yu, wrote in an email. The teen began making a series of questionable choices about his actions and his education, his father said.

Thepuxsonnarong said Sunday that her son was smart, funny and loyal, but that he disregarded her advice to focus more on the serious parts of life.

She said her son was starting to do better but did not have enough time to turn his life around.

Yu was just credits short of graduating high school when he died. He had gotten into trouble with low-level crimes such as shoplifting, Thepuxsonnarong said, but had buckled down during the past year.

She said Yu told a friend that Friday night’s party would be his last. The teen was on a three-year probation sentence for leaving the scene of a crash and did not want to get into trouble again.

Thepuxsonnarong said she does not know why someone would kill her only son. She still has not looked at his body.

“I don’t know what he (had) in his mind, I don’t know what came through in the teenage world,” she said Sunday. “He seemed to be easygoing. I love him and everybody just try to get him through this teen difficulty and have a better life.”

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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