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June 18, 2024

16-year-old charged with killing two people in shooting in remote Alaska community

16-year-old charged with killing two people in shooting in remote Alaska community

A 16-year-old was charged with killing two people and injuring two others in a shooting in Alaska late Sunday, according to court documents filed Monday.

The teenager was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the slayings, which have rocked Point Hope, a remote Inupiat whaling community on Alaska’s northwest coast, bordering the Chukchi Sea.

North Slope Borough police responded to a report of a shooting at a home around 11:35 p.m. A man and a woman were discovered dead, and two men were severely wounded. All had been shot, according to court records in the Second Judicial District at Kotzebue.

Police didn’t provide any updates on the conditions of the injured victims.

A witness told police she saw the 16-year-old enter the home with a handgun and start shooting, while another witness reported seeing the armed teen flee in a vehicle.

Less than 10 minutes later, the teen arrived at the Point Hope police station with his father, who said his son admitted to shooting the four victims, officials said. The 16-year-old told police he shot the victims and was subsequently arrested, according to court documents.

A motive for the shooting was not immediately clear Tuesday.

The teen is being prosecuted as an adult, according to the Alaska Department of Law, NBC affiliate KTUU of Anchorage reported.

NBC News does not usually name minors charged with crimes, even those charged as adults. It was not clear whether the teenager has legal representation at this time.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he was “devastated by the tragic shooting.”

“Our hearts ache for the families and residents affected by this senseless act,” Dunleavy wrote on X. “We will continue to pray for healing and justice.”

In a statement, North Slope Borough Mayor Josiah A. Patkotak reassured the public that the shooting was an isolated incident and that there was no ongoing risk to the community.

“In the days ahead, we will come together as a community to heal and support one another,” Patkotak said.

Patkotak also announced the Point Hope Tikigaq School would be closed for the time being. It was not clear what relevance the school has to the shooting.

The incident is under investigation.

Point Hope, with a population of about 675, sits on a triangular spit of land that juts into the Chukchi Sea. It is about 700 miles northwest of Anchorage and 200 miles from Russia.

The peninsula is one of the longest continually inhabited Inupiat areas of North America, with some of its earliest residents crossing the Siberian land bridge about 2,000 years ago for bowhead whaling, the borough website said.

Marlene Lenthang

Breaking News Reporter

Mirna Alsharif

Breaking news reporter

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

The Associated Press



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