ANCHORAGE-With flags at half mass,lights flashing and honorable salutes, heavy hearts are across the state. One day ago, news of two troopers violently shot and killed in Tanana spread throughout the last frontier." this was a senseless act that resulted in the killings of two dedicated, courageous Alaska State Troopers," Said Col. James Cockrell, AKST Director.
Nathaniel Lee Kangas is under arrest in the murders of Trooper Gabriel "Gabe" Rich and Sgt. Patrick "Scott" Johnson Thursday in the isolated community of Tanana. Troopers say formal charges against the Tanana man are being prepared by troopers with the office with the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals.
Kangas' father, 58-year-old Arvin Kangas, is charged with assault in connection with a Wednesday incident involving a village public safety officer.
Arvin was involved in a dispute with another Tanana resident wednesday.he allegedly began driving under the influence around the village.Eventually he and vpso Hark Hagland crossed paths. Officials say Kangas pointed a shotgun at Hagland as he passed by his residence.
Sgt. Johnson and trooper Rich went to the village thursday to serve kangas with an arrest warrant."Troopers made contact with Kangas at his residence while attempting to put Kangas under arrest, a struggle pursued," said Col. Cockrell.
Both officers were shot with a semi-automatic rifle. Cockrell says this tragedy will be felt across the force for a very long time, "even though we're spread out from throughout the state--we have about 400 troopers in all divisions and this will take us a long time to heal."
The National Geographic Channel says the two troopers were occasionally featured on the show "Alaska State Troopers." The troopers were not filming at the time of their deaths.
Associated Press contributed to portions of this article.