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FBI hunts for killer of 2 Coast Guard members in Alaska; victims identified

Ted Land reports.

Updated at 4:43 p.m. ET: FBI agents have been flown to Kodiak Island on Alaska’s south coast to try to find out who shot and killed two Coast Guard members inside a communications station.

The victims were found dead at their work areas inside the station on Thursday by another Coast Guard member. They were identified Friday as Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins, an electronics technician, and Richard Belisle, a civilian employee and retired Coast Guard chief petty officer.


"As an organization with roots in saving lives and a focus on protecting people, this tragic event has shocked us all," said Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander of the 17th Coast Guard District, said in a statement."My thoughts and prayers are with the victim's families, their loved ones, and the entire Kodiak community."

There is no evidence to suggest the deaths are the result of a murder-suicide, the Coast Guard said. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been publicly identified.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis said late Thursday that all the roughly 60 enlisted personnel and civilians working at the station had been accounted for, and officials believe a third person was involved in the shootings.

KTUU

Frame grab of Coast Guard communications station in Kodiak, Alaska.

Capt. Jesse Moore, commanding officer of the base on Kodiak, said the victims likely were shot soon after they arrived for work Thursday morning.

The station monitors radio traffic from ships and planes. It is equipped with security cameras, but it wasn’t yet known if they captured any evidence, Moore said, according to The Associated Press.

The FBI said agents flew to Kodiak from Anchorage, about 250 miles away. They are working with the Coast Guard Investigative Service, Alaska State Troopers and the Kodiak Police Department to investigate the shootings.

According to the AP, the shootings happened 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.

A man killed a Coast Guard officer whom he believed was having an affair with his estranged wife, according to AP.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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