According to an Alaska Dispatch report, Patrick Johnson and Gabriel “Gabe” Rich were killed on Wednesday in Tanana, Alaska. The officers, who both served the Fairbanks Rural Service Unit, were responding to reports from the village of a man threatening people with a gun. Rich was featured on the National Geographic Channel reality show Alaska State Troopers.
Following the officers’ deaths, the Alaska State Troopers sent more officers in SWAT gear to respond to the village. Officers laid siege to the suspected shooter, who had retreated into his home. Later that night the suspect, Arvin Kangas, exited the house and was arrested.
According to the Dispatch’s interviews with Tanana locals, Kangas reportedly held anti-government views and was a proponent of returning the village to Alaskan Native control.
Johnson and Rich had reportedly arrived in Tanana by airplane shortly before the incident. Though the shooting took place at Kangas’ residence, the details of the shooting have not been released. According to a CNN report, a Tanana public safety officer had called the Alaskan State Troopers for backup following an “altercation” that took place because of the sale of a couch.
The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the troopers’ deaths.
The Alaska State Troopers revealed the deaths via the organization’s official Facebook page. The announcement has caused thousands of people to post their well-wishes and prayers for the officers and families affected.
Tanana, Alaska was officially founded in 1961, though the area had been home to trading posts and a Church of England mission in the late 1800s. The village is located over 100 miles West of Fairbanks, Alaska near the confluence of the Yukon and Tanana rivers. The village is only accessible by air and has no paved roads.
Image via Alaska State Troopers