Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Double murder at coastguard base

Two US Coast Guard members have been shot dead on Kodiak Island, off Alaska

Two US Coast Guard members have been shot dead at a communications station on an island off Alaska in what officials said appeared to be a double murder. They have yet to identify a suspect.

The victims were found at their work areas inside the Kodiak Island station early on Thursday by another coastguard member, spokeswoman Sara Francis said.

Officials believe a third person was involved in the shooting, she said, adding that the rest of the roughly 60 enlisted personnel and civilians working at the station had been accounted for.

Capt Jesse Moore, commanding officer of the coastguard base on Kodiak, said the shootings probably occurred some time between 7 and 8am, soon after the victims arrived for work inside one of the communication station buildings.

The captain said he was not aware of any threats or anything else that might have indicated problems at the station. The station is equipped with security cameras, but it was not yet known if they captured any evidence, he said.

Capt Moore said the base was "deeply saddened" by the loss of two shipmates. "This is a tragic event and we are going to do everything we can to look after the families of victims, to take care of them and to protect the residents and citizens and other coastguard employees in Kodiak," he said.

After the shooting, security was increased at the base, about eight miles from the island's largest city of Kodiak. Officials called on the city's 6,300 residents to remain calm and vigilant.

Ms Francis said added security was in place at the base and an adjacent school.

The station listens for radio transmissions from mariners and aircraft, Petty Officer Charly Hengen said. The staff are responsible for relaying distress calls to other coastguard stations and offices.

The FBI said agents flew to Kodiak from Anchorage, about 250 miles away.

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