2 Coast Guard members shot dead on Alaskan island

Posted at 8:36 PM, Apr 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-12 20:36:52-04
(CNN) — Two Coast Guard members have been shot dead on an island off Alaska’s coast, prompting the lockdown Thursday of their base and at least one nearby school.

The Coast Guard offered few immediate details Thursday afternoon as to how, when or why two of its own were killed. Capt. Jesse Moore did acknowledge, though, “It is possible the suspect remains at large.”

“We are deeply saddened that we lost two shipmates,” Moore said in a news release. “This is a rare occurrence, and we are going to do everything possible to ensure we find out exactly what happened.”

The victims, who have not been identified by name, were members at the Coast Guard Communications Station Kodiak.

Their base is on what the city of Kodiak’s website calls the second-largest island in the United States, situated in the Gulf of Alaska about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage. The borough of Kodiak Island has about 13,600 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Peterson Elementary School, which is on Coast Guard property in Kodiak, went into lockdown mode around 8:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. ET) after school leaders got a call from military police, Principal Beth Cole said.

By 11 a.m., they shifted to “lock in” mode — allowing for more movement within the school, though lunch was still delivered to students in their classroom as a precaution, said Cole. No people were allowed in and out of the building all day.

Six other schools — three elementary, one middle and one high school — on the island were also affected, school district Superintendent Stewart McDonald said.

Those schools were on “lock in” status starting at 11:30 a.m. so that activities could continue as normal, except for the fact no one could enter or leave the buildings. At the time, Kodiak High School was hosting an Alaska Association of Student Government meeting involving youth from around the state.

All restrictions for the district’s roughly 2,200 students were called off about 1 p.m. after state troopers called school officials and said that operations could return to normal, according to McDonald.