close
close

Gila River shooting victim identified as Alicen Apkaw, 23

A woman who died in Saturday's shooting at the Gila River Indian Community was identified Monday evening.

Stephen Roe Lewis, governor of the Gila River Indian Community, said 23-year-old Alicen Apkaw died from gunfire in the incident. He did not provide any further details about the time of death.

“From everything I have learned about Alicen since her passing, she was a beloved daughter and sister, a loyal friend and colleague who was always ready to laugh, hardworking, cheerful and helpful,” Lewis said in a released statement. “To lose a young woman like Alicen in the prime of her life is a loss I can only describe as devastating.”

Lewis said he met Alicen's mother, father and siblings at the hospital, who told him how much Alicen loved her family. They hoped that unity, peace and positivity would emerge from the tragedy, he said.

She worked in the housekeeping department of the community's San Tan Casino, Lewis said.

Also killed in the incident was Gila River police officer Joshua Briese, who was shot as officers responded to a disturbance involving a large crowd in Santan, District 4 of the Gila River Indian Community early Saturday. Another officer was shot and injured, as were two others who appear to be suspects in the incident.

The FBI's Phoenix field office and Gila River police arrested two suspects on Sunday and said both were receiving medical treatment for their injuries. Officials identified them as a man and a teenager but did not release their names.

In response to the shooting, the Gila River Indian Community also imposed a moratorium on all dance events. Anyone found hosting or attending such an event could face arrest, among other penalties.

Annie Goodykoontz is a reporter for The Arizona Republic. You can reach her at [email protected].