Alaska State Troopers Shot Dead in Remote Village

Few details available on deaths of 2 troopers

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 2, 2014 8:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two Alaska State Troopers who had appeared in a television show about Alaska officers on the job have been shot and killed during an investigation in a remote village. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters identified the two killed yesterday in Tanana as Trooper Gabriel "Gabe" Rich and Sgt. Patrick "Scott" Johnson. The troopers had gone to Tanana to follow up on a Wednesday night report that someone "had brandished a firearm in the village," Peters said. Troopers have released few details about the violence in the isolated community, other than saying one person has been detained. But Ruby Cruger said the shooting happened at her aunt's home on Tanana's Front Street just about 3pm. She said her aunt wasn't home at the time, but a relative of her aunt shot the troopers inside the home.

Peters confirmed that Rich had been featured on the National Geographic show Alaska State Troopers, and said Johnson might have also appeared but couldn't immediately confirm that. (According to IMDB, he did appear.) The show's website says it follows "one of the toughest law enforcement agencies in the nation" and adds, "Responding by land, air, and sea—with backup sometimes days away—these troopers patrol hundreds of miles of rugged terrain in bone-chilling temperatures to protect the people and wildlife of Alaska." Rich and Johnson worked out of the troopers' Fairbanks rural service unit. No roads lead to Tanana, which is located about 130 miles west of Fairbanks, and travel there is mainly by aircraft. Residents live a largely subsistence lifestyle.

A postcard of Tanana, Alaska's Front Street.
A postcard of Tanana, Alaska's Front Street.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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