The U.S. Coast Guardhas identified the two Coast Guard members who were fatally shot Thursday at a communications station in Kodiak, which are being investigated by authorities as a double homicide.
A Friday statement from the Coast Guard says Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins, an electronics technician, and Richard Belisle, a civilian employee and retired Coast Guard chief petty officer, were the two men found dead at their posts between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Thursday by another Coast Guard member.
Coast Guard Communications Station Kodiak, where about 60 people work, serves as the "ears in the sky" for radio transmissions from mariners and aircraft. People who want to enter must show identification, Coast Guard Petty Officer Charly Hengen said Thursday.
"It is a secure facility," she said.
The Kodiak Police Department, Alaska State Troopers and the FBI are all investigating the deaths, with the FBI taking a lead role in the case because the shootings occurred on federal property.
“The Coast Guard has been informed by the FBI that they are treating this investigation as a double homicide,” Coast Guard officials wrote. “There is no evidence to suggest these deaths are the result of a murder suicide. No arrests have been made and all residents are advised to use reasonable safety precautions and to report any suspicious activity to their local law enforcement agency.”
News of the shootings caused the Coast Guard base and several Kodiak schools to be temporarily placed on lockdown Thursday, although schools relaxed to a "lock-in" posture later in the day that let students move between classrooms but not leave the building.
The killings have shaken Kodiak’s close-knit Coast Guard community, with Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, commander of the 17th Coast Guard District, acknowledging their impact Friday.
"As an organization with roots in saving lives and a focus on protecting people, this tragic event has shocked us all," Ostebo said."My thoughts and prayers are with the victim's families, their loved ones, and the entire Kodiak community."
Ostebo said the Coast Guard is providing help for those affected by the shootings.
"Our Coast Guard team from across the nation has been extremely supportive and we have sent a number of crisis response personnel and resources to Kodiak to assist the (victims’) families, friends and coworkers as they cope with this tragedy," said Ostebo.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.
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