One person has been detained in association with the killings.
The troopers were identified as Sgt. Patrick "Scott" Johnson and Trooper Gabriel "Gabe" Rich, both of the troopers' Fairbanks Rural Service Unit. Their next of kin have been notified.
Johnson and Rich were in Tanana, about 130 miles west of Fairbanks, following up on a report of someone brandishing a firearm the night before.
The circumstances surrounding the deaths are unknown. The trooper news release did not indicate whether gunfire was involved.
Ruby Cruger, who manages the village store, said the troopers were killed at her aunt's house on Front Street along the Yukon River at about 3 p.m. She said she was headed that way when she encountered one of her cousins and the Village Public Safety Officer running away.
"I wasn't too far from the house when it happened," she said. "I just got over and they were running when I got there."
As of Thursday evening, troopers had closed off Front Street at her aunt's house, Cruger said
News of the killings came as the village's Maudrey J. Sommer School was getting out, according to resident and former school superintendent Mary Edwin.
"Some of the kids were already released from school when the news got that far down the river," she said. "The school did lock down for the rest of the kids who were still there ... everybody was safe and we accounted for everybody."
Troopers were on the ground in Tanana investigating the incident by about 6 p.m. Another group from the troopers' Alaska Bureau of Investigation is headed to the community, according to troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
Troopers are not releasing the name of the person who was detained because that person has not been charged, she said.
"We still have things we need to take care of, and I don't know if they're going to be able to arrest and charge the person or if the person that they have is simply detained for officer safety," Peters said.
Cruger said troopers detained another one of her cousins. The News-Miner is not identifying him because he has not been charged and troopers have not confirmed he is the person who has been detained. She said she doesn't know a motive for the killings.
Johnson and Rich are the 16th and 17th Alaska State Troopers killed in the line of duty, according to Peters. Two Village Public Safety Officers have also died on the job.
Gov. Sean Parnell was informed of the killings late Thursday afternoon, according to spokeswoman Sharon Leighow.
The governor's office issued a statement later in the evening.
“Sandy and I were deeply saddened to learn of the senseless, brutal crime that took the lives of two of Alaska’s finest,” Parnell said in the statement. “These fallen heroes answered the call to serve and protect, and made the ultimate sacrifice, while keeping our communities safe. May God and the loving support of grateful Alaskans bring comfort to the families of these courageous men, the public safety community, and all those impacted by this horrific act.”
From the Alsaka state troopers web site: Location: Tanana
Incident number: AK14030015
Type: Two Troopers Killed in the Line of Duty
Text: Two Alaska State Troopers were killed in Tanana today, May 1, while conducting an investigation. The Troopers responded to Tanana to follow-up on a report from last night that a subject had brandished a firearm in the village. One person has been detained. The details surrounding the deaths are unknown at this time. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation is responding to Tanana to investigate the incident and surrounding circumstances of the Troopers deaths. Next of kin notification for the deceased is underway. We will provide more details as they become available.
Received Thursday, May 01, 2014 6:01 PM and posted Thursday, May 01, 2014 6:22 PM http://www.dps.state.ak.us/PIO/dispatch/Trooper%20Dispatches%20of%2005-01-2014.20140501.txt
Not sure if any of these troopers were ever filmed for the tv show "Alaska State Troopers".A policeman's prayer:
The Police Officer's Prayer
to St. Michael
Saint Michael, heaven's glorious commissioner of police,
who once so neatly and successfully cleared God's premises
of all its undesirables, look with kindly and professional
eyes on your earthly force.
Give us cool heads, stout hearts, and uncanny flair for
investigation and wise judgement.
Make us the terror of burglars, the friend of children and
law-abiding citizens, kind to strangers, polite to bores,
strict with law-breakers and impervious to temptations.
You know, Saint Michael, from your own experiences
with the devil that the police officer's lot on earth is not
always a happy one; but your sense of duty that so
pleased God, your hard knocks that so surprised the
devil, and your angelic self-control give us inspiration.
And when we lay down our night sticks, enroll us in your
heavenly force, where we will be as proud to guard the
throne of God as we have been to guard the city of all
the people. Amen.