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2 Coast Guardsmen killed in base shooting

Apr. 12, 2012 - 04:29PM   |   Last Updated: Apr. 12, 2012 - 04:29PM  |  
An aerial view of Coast Guard Station Kodiak, Alaska.
An aerial view of Coast Guard Station Kodiak, Alaska. (Coast Guard)
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Two Coast Guard members were shot dead Thursday at a communications station on Kodiak Island, Alaska, in what officials said appeared to be a double homicide. They said they have yet to identify a suspect.

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

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

Officials put the base and local schools on lockdown after the shooting as a safety precaution.

"It is possible that the suspect remains at large," Capt. Jesse Moore, commander of Coast Guard Base Support Unit Kodiak, said in a news release. "Since we don't have all the details, we strongly advise that all Kodiak residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials."

Moore said the names of those killed would not be released until next of kin were notified.

"We are deeply saddened that we lost two shipmates," he said. "This is a rare occurrence and we are going to do everything possible to ensure we find out exactly what happened."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our lost shipmates and we will provide all the necessary support and guidance they need as they grieve their loved ones."

The station serves as the "ears in the sky" for radio transmissions from mariners and aircraft, Petty Officer Charly Hengen said, and is responsible for relaying distress calls to Coast Guard Air Station Anchorage. A commanding officer and enlisted and civilian personnel are stationed at the base about eight miles from the island's largest city of Kodiak, Hengen said.

Hengen said the communications station has "secure front doors" and requires its 59 staff members and any visitors to show identification.

The FBI said agents based in Anchorage, about 250 miles away, arrived in Kodiak to investigate the shootings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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