Deaths of U.S. Coast Guard members at Alaska base likely homicides

April 14th, 2012 - 3:40 am ICT by BNO News  

KODIAK ISLAND, ALASKA (BNO NEWS) — The shooting deaths of two U.S. Coast Guard members at a communications station on Kodiak Island off Alaska are likely the result of a double homicide and not a murder-suicide, officials said on Friday. No arrests have been made yet.

Two U.S. Coast Guard members were found shot dead on Thursday at the Coast Guard Communications Station in Kodiak, the main city on Kodiak Island, which is separated from the Alaska mainland by the Shelikof Strait. The discovery prompted a precautionary lockdown at the base and nearby schools.

“The Coast Guard has been informed by the FBI that they are treating this investigation as a double homicide,” the Seventeenth District of the U.S. Coast Guard said in a brief statement on Friday, giving few other details. “There is no evidence to suggest these deaths are the result of a murder-suicide.”

The victims have been identified as Coast Guard 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 district.

No arrests have been made as of Friday and authorities have advised all residents in Kodiak to use ‘reasonable safety precautions’ and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement. An FBI spokesman previously said there is no evidence to suggest the shootings are related to terrorism.

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