April 13, 2012 / 8:45 PM / 8 years ago

FBI seeks clues to slayings at Alaska Coast Guard base

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Investigators hunted for clues on Friday to determine who shot two U.S. Coast Guard employees to death at a communications station on Alaska’s Kodiak Island, federal officials said.

Agents are treating Thursday’s killings, the first fatal shootings at a Coast Guard facility in Alaska in over a decade, as a double homicide, said Eric Gonzalez, an Anchorage-based special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

“No arrests have been made in connection with the shootings,” Gonzalez said. “We are obviously trying to determine the person responsible for the murders.”

The victims were identified as Petty Officer First Class James Hopkins, an electronics technician, and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle, 51, a civilian employee. Hopkins’ age was not immediately made available.

The two were found shot to death inside a building at a communications station that is part of the Coast Guard’s sprawling base on Kodiak island, about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Neither Coast Guard nor FBI officials would discuss what investigators knew about the circumstances of the shooting or what the two men were doing when slain.

Discovery of their bodies on Thursday triggered a series of security measures at the base and in nearby Kodiak schools, including imposition of lockdowns keeping personnel and students indoors.

As of Friday, the lockdown of the Coast Guard installation had been lifted. The Coast Guard asked its personnel, family members and Kodiak residents to report any suspicious behavior.

Coast Guard Base Kodiak is home to 1,000 active-duty personnel and hundreds of civilian employees and is the largest installation in the Coast Guard system, according to the Kodiak Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The base is the operations hub for enforcement patrols and search-and-rescue missions in much of the North Pacific and in the Bering Sea, and conducts missions as far north as the Arctic Ocean.

Editing by Steve Gorman, Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara

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