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Alaska Coast Guard Shootings: 2 Dead On Kodiak Island

First Posted: 04/12/2012 3:55 pm Updated: 04/12/2012 6:13 pm

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Two Coast Guard members were fatally shot Thursday at a communications station on an island off Alaska, officials said.

Officials said it remained unclear if the deaths at the Coast Guard Station on Kodiak Island were a double homicide or a murder-suicide. Capt. Jesse Moore said it was "possible that the suspect remains at large."

About 60 enlisted personnel and civilians work at the station, which serves as the "ears in the sky" for radio transmissions from mariners and aircraft, Petty Officer Charly Hengen said. It is responsible for relaying distress calls to the Guard's air station in Anchorage.

A commanding officer also works at the station, which is a few miles from the Guard's base, Hengen said.

The base, about 8 miles from the island's largest city of Kodiak, and nearby schools were on lockdown. Moore called on the city's 6,300 or so residents to remain calm and vigilant until more details emerge, but stressed that the shooting was a "rare occurrence."

The communications station has "secure front doors," Hengen said, and requires staff and visitors to show identification.

Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, the commander of Coast Guard operations in Alaska, was in New London, Conn., for a conference at the Coast Guard Academy but left ahead of schedule and could not be reached for comment, according to academy spokesman David Santos. The two-day conference on leadership for the Arctic began earlier Thursday.

The shooting occurred almost 11 years after another fatal shooting involving the Coast Guard on another Alaska island, St. Paul Island, which is about 660 miles west of the city of Kodiak. Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Harris was killed in a shooting by a man he believed was having an affair with his estranged wife.

The FBI said agents were headed to Kodiak from Anchorage about 250 miles away. The Guard said the identities of the victims would be released after family members were notified.

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