Arrest in Alaska Coast Guard Base Deaths, US Attorney Says

An Alaska man was arrested Friday in last year’s shooting deaths at a Coast Guard air station on Kodiak Island that left two employees dead, the U.S. attorney said.

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by Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — An Alaska man was arrested Friday in last year’s shooting deaths at a Coast Guard air station on Kodiak Island that left two employees dead, the U.S. attorney said.

James Michael Wells of Kodiak is accused in a federal murder complaint of killing Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Boatswain’s Mate Richard Belisle on April 12.

Another Coast Guard member found the victims shortly after the two would have arrived for work at the station, which monitors radio traffic from ships and planes and is home to cutters, helicopters and rescue swimmers that aid mariners in the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean. Their bodies were found in the rigger building, where antennas are repaired.

FBI agents immediately flew to Kodiak Island from Anchorage, about 250 miles away, to investigate the case as a double homicide. Few details were released in the weeks after the deaths.

Wells’ arrest came after “an extensive investigation” led by the FBI and the Coast Guard Investigative Service, with help from the Alaska State Troopers, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said in a statement.

Wells is expected to appear in court next week in Anchorage, Loeffler said.

No one was immediately reachable by phone Friday evening at the U.S. attorney’s office to provide additional details.

Hopkins, 41, was an electronics technician from Vergennes, Vt. Belisle, 51, was a former chief petty officer who continued service to the Coast Guard as a civilian employee.

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