Traffic on Midtown Anchorage streets slowed to a somber pace Friday afternoon as a motorcade of Alaska State Troopers, with other law officers at their side, escorted the bodies of two troopers killed in Tanana Thursday.
According to a statement from AST spokesperson Megan Peters, a flight carrying Sgt. Patrick "Scott" Johnson and Trooper Gabriel "Gabe" Rich arrived at Signature Air Cargo, at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, shortly before 1 p.m. Friday.
“From there, a small procession will accompany them to the State Medical Examiner’s office located at 5455 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Drive),” Peters wrote. “There will be a 24-hour vigil conducted by the Alaska State Troopers and other Law Enforcement Officers that request to participate.”
Nathanial Lee Kangas, 19, has been held in Johnson and Rich’s deaths, with troopers anticipating murder charges against him. While troopers haven’t confirmed how the two men died, Tanana residents say they were shot.
An APD officer along the motorcade route said it would travel from Signature north on Jewel Lake Road then east along International Airport Road, before traveling north along Minnesota Drive and east along Tudor Road to the medical examiner's office.
APD spokesperson Dani Myren said Friday afternoon that no road closures had been planned to accommodate the motorcade.
Anchorage’s last major law enforcement motorcade for a fallen trooper occurred slightly over a year ago, after Trooper Tage Toll was killed in the March 30, 2013 crash of Helo-1 along with pilot Mel Nading and snowmachiner Carl Ober.
Peters says Alaska Concerns of Police Survivors has formed two Wells Fargo bank accounts to support Johnson and Rich’s families, with all funds donated going to them. The Sergeant Scott Johnson Memorial Fund’s account number is 6157331387, while the Trooper Gabe Rich Memorial Fund’s account number is 6157331379.
Channel 2's Clinton Bennett and Grace Jang contributed information to this story.