Man held for Coast Guard deaths

2013-02-16 08:08
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Anchorage - An Alaska man was arrested on Friday in last year's shooting deaths at a Coast Guard air station on Kodiak Island that left two employees dead, the US 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 12 April.

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 402.32km 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, US 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 on Friday evening at the US attorney's office to provide additional details.

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

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