Current weather

  • Clear sky
  • 10°
    Clear sky
  • Comment

Charge: Alaska man, 19, shot troopers from behind

Posted: May 3, 2014 - 8:49pm
Firefighters stand at attention and salute as the procession for two slain Alaska State Troopers arrives at the State Medical Examiners office in Anchorage, Alaska on Friday, May 2, 2014. Troopers Sgt. Patrick "Scott" Johnson and Gabriel "Gabe" Rich were killed in the line of duty in Tanana, Alaska on Thursday, May 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)  AP
AP
Firefighters stand at attention and salute as the procession for two slain Alaska State Troopers arrives at the State Medical Examiners office in Anchorage, Alaska on Friday, May 2, 2014. Troopers Sgt. Patrick "Scott" Johnson and Gabriel "Gabe" Rich were killed in the line of duty in Tanana, Alaska on Thursday, May 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — As two state troopers struggled to arrest his father, a 19-year-old man armed himself with an assault rifle and shot them seven times, killing them outside his home in a remote Alaska village, authorities said in charges filed Saturday.

Nathanial Lee Kangas appeared in a Fairbanks court two days after Trooper Gabriel “Gabe” Rich and 45-year-old Sgt. Patrick “Scott” Johnson were shot to death. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and a count of third-degree assault. Bail was set at $2 million.

After bail was set, the judge asked Kangas if he had anything to say regarding the bail.

After a long pause, Kangas replied only, “I’m sorry,” the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Kangas, wearing an orange jumpsuit, was escorted by officers into the court. Every seat was full, and the walls were lined with law enforcement officers of several agencies as Kangas faced his charges. Officers hugged and consoled each other at the hearing, the newspaper reported.

Kangas’ mother, Judy, and younger brother, Albert, each gave brief apologies.

“I want to tell everybody, the families, from the bottom of my heart that I am sorry,” Judy Kangas said as she choked back tears.

The slayings of Rich and Johnson on Thursday in the isolated community of Tanana underscored the challenges law enforcement faces in this huge state.

Like many troopers assigned to patrol multiple villages, Rich and Johnson were not based in the interior community of 238 people. They worked out of the troopers’ four-person rural service unit in Fairbanks 130 miles to the east, and they had to reach Tanana by plane.

Rich and Johnson, who had recently appeared on a national cable TV show about the Alaska State Troopers, had traveled to Tanana to arrest Kangas’ 58-year-old father, Arvin, on charges of driving without a license and threatening the village’s unarmed public safety officer, Mark Haglin.

Haglin had received reports that the elder Kangas was driving around the village, even though he doesn’t have a valid driver’s license. After Haglin approached Arvin Kangas at his home, the elder Kangas pointed to a rifle and suggested he would use it if Haglin did not leave, according to the charging document.

Haglin then contacted state troopers, who obtained an arrest warrant and accompanied him to Arvin Kangas’ home a day after the confrontation.

Arvin Kangas refused to cooperate with the troopers after being informed of his arrest warrant and tried to run inside his home, according to the charging document. The troopers pursued, and a scuffle ensued, according to the document.

That’s when Nathanial Kangas appeared with an assault rifle and shot them, according to the charging document. He then pointed the weapon at Haglin, but lowered it and Haglin was able to flee, the document says.

Haglin called for help, and with the aid of other community members, was able to detain Nathanial Kangas until more troopers arrived, the charging document says.

Once Haglin had him, Kangas “spontaneously stated that he was sorry for doing ‘it’ and that he shot troopers because the troopers were wrestling with Arvin,” the documents say.

Arvin Kangas was also arrested and is being held in Fairbanks.

“These are serious crimes, killing two Alaska State Troopers, two of my Alaska State Troopers ... I would support the recommendations of the district attorney and hope that you put the maximum amount of bail possible,” said trooper Col. James Cockrell during Saturday’s hearing.

Meanwhile on Saturday, processions were held for the bodies of Rich and Johnson, which were taken from Anchorage to Fairbanks following their release from the medical examiner’s office.

The procession in Fairbanks accompanied the bodies from the airport to the funeral home.

Village public safety officers are unarmed, but a bill passed by lawmakers this year would allow for the arming of the officers, who serve as first responders in rural communities that can be located hours or days, depending on the weather, from the nearest state trooper.

Rich and Johnson were occasionally featured on the National Geographic Channel show “Alaska State Troopers,” which features multiple troopers patrolling the state’s wild terrain.

The troopers were not filming at the time of their deaths. Filming in the fifth season is currently being done with other troopers.

Tanana resident Ruby Cruger, who is related to the Kangas, said the shooting has deeply affected the entire community.

“They’re all shocked,” Cruger said of the town’s reaction.

  • Comment

Comments (22) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
normolson
428
Points
normolson 05/04/14 - 07:41 pm
1
7
Serious Mistakes By Troopers Led To Tragedy

The tragic death of two Troopers could have been prevented, had their keen senses, defensive thinking, and logical planning not been diminished by failures in several areas.

Mistakes that were made:

1. Intel should have alerted Troopers that there was a strong anti-white sentiment in Tanana. This information, if heeded, would have heightened a sense of caution.

2. Both Troopers apparently tried to subdue Arvin Kangas, leaving no one to secure the premises and/or sweep for other occupants and arms. One Trooper should have engaged the subject of their warrant while the other "watched his back."

3. Physically trying to subdue the elder Kangas was a fatal error since Troopers have at their side both gas and taser devices to disable a man. Why weren't other means sued to subdue Arvin Kangas?

4. Troopers who have been made stars on TV have an elevated sense of prestige and prominence leading to a diminished sense of situational awareness. Their stardom and fame robbed them of much-needed survival skills.

Had there been one or more native Troopers to respond to Tanana, things might have been different. Ethnic hostility toward whites is a reality here in this state. Cooperation with natives is not what it should be. Something should be done to have ethic law enforcement available to join Troopers when going into a village where hostilities are to exist.

As a result of the errors in judgment and lack of preparation for what could be a dangerous confrontation, Troopers lost their lives. Troopers are probably vowing to be more aggressive, more demanding, more fierce, and quicker to take control with harsher treatment in future confrontations.

Troopers should not pose as movie stars; and, though there were no cameras filming what happend in Tanana, I know from experience that film crews will distract one from his primary duty. Troopers need total awareness. Hollywood, temporary fame, and the limelight has robbed them of the senses they need to survive.

The Troopers need to grieve and admit the mistakes that led to this tragedy! Quit playing television stars and start thinking about taking care of each other!

Norseman
3616
Points
Norseman 05/05/14 - 06:30 am
8
1
nothing quite like a monday

nothing quite like a monday morning quarterback.
So with your way of thinking, if we have a black suspect, then we need to send a black trooper. If we have a hispanic suspect, then we need to send a hispanic trooper.
That is assinine thinking and not even close to reality. Bottom line is that we have whackos from all walks of life that commit crimes of murder.
People will be second guessing this for some time. However, in the end, it is always some nutjob with a gun.

IloveEeyore
16
Points
IloveEeyore 05/05/14 - 07:51 am
8
0
How dare you...

Try and place the blame on them! How dare you make assumptions...you weren't there...you don't know the mind set of ANYBODY involved...you obviously don't know anything about Tanana and you obviously have zero humanity. They risk their lives everyday keeping people like you safe and now 2 Troopers have lost their lives...2 families are living the ultimate hell...normal people are saddened by the loss. How about instead of showing off your ignorance you show a little compassion to the friends and families that are reading your crap.
My deepest condolences to the friends and families. They were great men and they will be missed dearly. Please don't think that because someone posted that that everybody thinks that way...the rest of us have hearts.

WatchingKPBSD
31
Points
WatchingKPBSD 05/05/14 - 11:55 am
5
0
Serious Mistake in your Erroneous Judgment

The point is, you weren't there. Unfortunately no one else was so I'm curious what makes you the subject matter expert? And when do you plan on going the families of those troopers and explaining to them how their loved ones made serious mistakes that cost them their lives, including being on T.V. I would like to be there when you tell them since you apparently have no problem being the expert anonymously.

Your spelling error is very timely, "something should be done to have ethic law enforcement"... you are right! There should be ethics education and enforcement for people just like you because the ethics of fantasizing that you are some kind of wannabe professional FBI investigator and law enforcement consultant is down right laughable. And contradicting yourself is never a good thing, there was no camera crew present - yet they were robbed of judgment because they were enjoying their residual effects of the lime light. Really? Well I guess every person who appears on TV or the movies better take note, you have poor judgment now! I'm sending an E-amil to Dr. Phil right away!

I'm all for transparency, especially when government and the law are concerned. Heck, strap a camera to every officer and politician in the country and I bet things would change. I'm glad I don't reside in a country where the media is controlled by corrupt officials to hide their antics.

But most importantly, condolences to these families and friends and my apologies for the tasteless comments of Normolson. The police can be annoying at times, when your not doing what you know you should be doing. But, when you do need these guys, they are there. They are wonderful helpful human beings, they are regular people just like you and me and it's devastating to loose public servants, sons, brothers and Dads. I'm very sorry for your lose.

aknativewoman
50
Points
aknativewoman 05/05/14 - 08:29 am
7
0
Please leave our state

Mr. Olson, please leave our state. Go spout your narrow-minded, racist remarks somewhere else. As a Native American, I am deeply offended by you. I wouldn't wish you on any other state, but I really wish you would just leave. God bless the troopers, local police, public safety officers, fire department, anyone who provides safety and public service to the citizens of this great state, no matter what race they are. My most sincere condolences to the grieving families and friends of two fine men.

Suss
4041
Points
Suss 05/05/14 - 09:13 am
4
0
Too disgusted

The militia folks just keep exposing the dark recesses of their darker hearts and minds.

Thank you Clarion for allowing this Norm Olson to spout his warped view so all can see what he preaches.

"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said.

leewaytooo
2085
Points
leewaytooo 05/05/14 - 10:33 am
3
0
the psychotic and it's guns,

the psychotic and it's guns, just "itchin" for any confrontation.

boys and their toys kill.............this time two officers that

were doing their job.. often, little difference between

animal behavior and human behavior........just that the

boys have bigger sticks and bigger mouths and less

intelligence bolstered by extremely large egos.

never a good combination.....limited IQ and inflated EQ...

normolson
428
Points
normolson 05/05/14 - 12:17 pm
0
5
that's fine.... but. . .

All of you have done a splendid job attacking the messenger, but you have offered NOT ONE SCRAP of comment on how to deal with village violence. You all are very good at attacking me, but you won't lift a finger to propose changes that will both enforce the law while protecting Troopers. Why?
I believe that you all have no ideas at all.
What I see is increasing excessive force used by law enforcement because of the potential dangers they face. So, let me ask again, "where are corrective actions that will promote restraint among law enforcement and reduce excessive force?"

Perhaps there's another reason that no one wants to talk about. A number of years ago Troopers sought a man for an act of arson. A physical battle ensued as Troopers used great restraint against a man who seemed to turn wild and uncontrollable. The struggle was viewed by man witnesses and I suspect that non native troopers were told that any excessive actions they use against natives could be construed as racist.

So again I ask the question. "Does anyone have constructive suggestions on how Troopers should deal with native people without their actions being interpreted as racist?"

Did the restraint displayed by the Troopers in Tanana because of a "racial policy" contribute to their deaths?

Don't be frightened to ANSWER THE QUESTION. They are your Troopers too.

KenaiKardinal88
512
Points
KenaiKardinal88 05/05/14 - 02:43 pm
2
2
Pathetic

Racism is alive and thriving in discussion of "Indian Nation"

We see graffiti hate directed towards whites.

Political correctness contributed to the death of these two honorable public servants. Only a twisted mind could possibly cast blame on these dead troopers.

I pray for the victims and their families and hope we vote in the death penalty so the racist can pay for his hate crimes.

WatchingKPBSD
31
Points
WatchingKPBSD 05/05/14 - 08:16 pm
7
0
No One Cares About Your Pity Party!

Two troopers are shot dead in the back and your response is: "How can we stop trooper aggression against natives?"

So it does go back to your original premiss, it's the troopers fault. Every one please join me in E-mailing the Clarion to ban this insensitive racist moron from embarrassing Alaska and humiliating the grieving families of these men.

This is not the time and place to promote your little crusade; get off your pity party!

normolson
428
Points
normolson 05/05/14 - 05:13 pm
0
5
Loss of Culture, Resentment, and Growing Contempt

Anyone reading the comment below will feel something. Either the Athabascan youth reacted to protect his father according to the laws of a dying culture, or the white Troopers were acting according to their law. I'm sure that many readers will accuse me of being racist. But against whom? Those who think this thing through may come up with another point of view, that perhaps the ancient culture of the Athabascans is in danger of being lost, destroyed by the white man. Maybe it has nothing to do with race at all, but rather the clash of cultures. Read on if you dare. . .
,
No one wants to talk about the deep underlying problem with law enforcement in native villages. Why, for example, can some communities of Muslims in America operate under sharia law but native villages must abide by white-man's law with white man's methods of law enforcement?

If you study the history of the Athabascan natives in Alaska, you'll see that when the white man came with Christianity, the Athabascan natives received it readily since the God that they were introduced to was powerful, loving and merciful as well as fair in His punitive capacity. One must understand that the Athabascans are VERY spiritual people, believing in evil spirits, guardian spirits, ghosts, and demons. Their native religion is one of fear of the supernatural.

But around 1940, white men started bringing in their own laws, destroying the power of the tribal (village) chief and the council. No longer could the Athabascan govern himself, but now had to remove from their culture the power of the council and the control of their own life.

The village of Tanana is made up of around 300 native Athabascans, many of whom resent with great anger and contempt the white Troopers and what the white man did to the culture. In fact, there in Tanana is a group of antiwhite militants known as The Athabascan Nation. The bitterness and resentment has been growing for many decades. With
more and more rules from the whiteman's lawmakers, controlling and restricting ancient practices, the discord will only increase.

Nate (the son) was raised for 19 years in a culture deeply divided and destroyed by the white man and his laws. No longer could the council and chief take care of native law enforcement. Now, problems that were once handled by the chief and council had to be turned over to the white Troopers who the Athabascans view as white demons coming to destroy even more of their culture.

When the son saw that these demons were going to take away his father, he reacted according to his deep religious beliefs that his culture and his people needed to be protected from the demons.

BTW, alcohol consumption among Athabascan men is more a way of dealing with the loss of their manhood, their culture, their prestige, and their power, than just drinking to get drunk. Alcohol gives them a way of forgetting what they've lost and a way to hide from the monsters and demons that lurk everywhere, especially personified by the Troopers who are the symbols of their great loss of their ancient culture and laws.

The real problem that results in the ineffectiveness of whiteman's law enforcement in native villages comes directly from the loss of culture and the resentment that rises because of it.

The televison depiction of white Troopers coming into a native village is seen by ignorant white people as the Cavalry coming into a Indian Village to bring law and order to the savages. To the Athabascans, it is a weekly humiliation and a great shame to show that they can no longer take care of themselves as they once did.

If Athabascans would speak up and speak the truth, perhaps they could at least re-capture some of their pride. It is the young Athabascans who want to revive the spirit of their people. Can you blame them?

One solution would be to allow chiefs and councils to take care of law and order in native villages. Again, I ask, why is it okay for a Muslim community to rule itself under sharia (Islamic) law and not allow the native Athabascans to rule their villages under tribal law?

In the white mans law book, Nate is guilty of murder, but under Athabascan law, he is guilty only of attempting to save his father. What he did, he did in defense of his family. With full assurance that the whiteman's court will throw the full weight of law against him, a greater divide is created between the Athabascan and the white men. In all this, try to look at this through the eyes of a Native Athabascan.

Read! Here are some resources:

1973. The Athabascans of Interior Alaska: A culture and personality perspective.
American Anthropologist, 75(5): 1529-41.

HIPPLER, A. E., L. B. BOYER and R. M. BOYER. In press. The
psychocultural significance of the Alaska Athabascan potlatch
ceremony. Psychoanalytic Study of Society.
HIPPLER, A. E. and s. CONN. 1972. Traditional Athabascan law ways and
their relationship to contemporary problems of "Bush Justice".
Institute of Social, Economic and Government Research, Occasional
Papers #7.19 pp.
HIPPLER, A. E. An Alaskan Athabascan Technique For Overcoming Alcohol Abuse

normolson
428
Points
normolson 05/05/14 - 05:23 pm
0
6
By The Way

By the way, none of my numerous critics has answered the question of how to bring white Troopers and white man's law enforcement into native villages without leaving behind resentment and a greater feeling of loss of culture.

Raoulduke
3055
Points
Raoulduke 05/05/14 - 06:39 pm
4
0
mistakes

The comments made about ASP mistakes.They are pure conjecture,and supposition.The ones that KNOW were THERE.But the raising of the fear question of RACE.Has been the #1 lead off statement by any group to get the fear juices flowing.The answer to the question of bringing white mans law into native villages is.The law IS already there,and controlling how another person feels.Would be an almost impossible task.So! Yeah! ask for the near impossible.

leewaytooo
2085
Points
leewaytooo 05/06/14 - 01:49 am
3
1
the psychotic knows nothing

the psychotic knows nothing other than to create divisive fear.

how could anyone expect anything else from the psychotic

that would say "the only thing timothy did wrong was to get

caught"......

boys and their toys kill...............

the troopers are human beings just as everyone is.....

whatever shade of the colour spectrum you consider yourself

to be, is yours to believe.... first and always...

we are all born human beings......except for those that

are defective mentally such as the psychotic...

"is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions) ; Seeing or hearing things that aren't there "

cheapersmokes
1145
Points
cheapersmokes 05/06/14 - 06:11 am
3
0
Normolson is crazy!

Mr. Olson projects himself as an expert on tribal nature, their wishes and desires and even an alcohol counsellor. Who among us will state that he is correct in his assumptions or will email the Clarion to have his access denied to this feature of the newspaper. How about we take away their oil checks and let them make their own decisions and provide for themselves and go in with much more force it ever called in again!

In the USA anyone can publish a book if they search hard enough or self fund it. Just because something is in print doesn't give it any importance just like Obama says he was born in Hawaii.

mikehu
174
Points
mikehu 05/07/14 - 12:24 pm
2
0
I think Mr. Olson's timing

I think Mr. Olson's timing and tone are way off; emotions are too raw right now. I also object to how he uses "native" with a small n. I did however have some similar questions (as Mr Olson did) on this tragedy. Things could have been handled better and Olson's comments made that clear. I also wonder how Alaskan village life projects nationally when it put up on TV like it is; how could it be good? No doubt much of this will be talked about rationally in its time in the proper venues.

normolson
428
Points
normolson 05/09/14 - 09:42 pm
1
3
Mikehu sees the problem.... I think

You can cite my use of the "small n" in Native, but please be aware of the fact that several critics don't like the name native at all since we are "all natives"... Let's call them indiginous people. Something we don't want to remember is the fact that when the US bought Alaska, they bought the indiginous people. I still want to know why sharia law is okayed in muslim conclives in America while ancient cultures, far older than the muslims are not able to conduct their own law and order in indiginous villages. Why is white man's law superior to the tribe/clan's own rules? Why is it necessary for a tribe/clan that is thousands of year old give up its way of life to the whiteman simply because they were purchased by the whiteman from Russia? Please tell me why the ancient code of law and order no longer exists in native villages?
The episode with the Troopers who were killed must include a deeper discussion. Why the anger among the Athabascan Nation resistance? What has taken place? Why does the Athabascan Council bow to the superior law of the White Man.

mikehu
174
Points
mikehu 05/10/14 - 04:03 pm
0
0
The critics are correct. Even

The critics are correct. Even the expression by itself, capitilized or not is poor form. I personally believe it better to be as specifically respectful as possible and that may mean using "Alaska Native culture" or even more to the point the cultural group within that. Where the entity of the law is concerned, there is tribal law in some places where tribes have established jurisdiction. However, it is a work in progress and in my opinion has a degree of paternalism. There is no easy solution and as you mention I think it is best handled internally, preferably by village peace officers who themselves are members of same culture in the village.

mikehu
174
Points
mikehu 05/10/14 - 04:17 pm
0
0
...

...

RaySouthwell
1054
Points
RaySouthwell 05/14/14 - 07:58 am
0
0
Bullying

Years ago, there was a murder/suicide where I worked. I raise the question as to why? Oh how I was demonized for raising the question. In the end I found the answer. But nobody cared. It is much easier to blame drugs (including alcohol) or mental illness. But where does the mental illness come from? Is it nature or nurture?

Rather, people just accept the Police State to keep us safe. Much like our national surveillance state and massive military machine.

For those wanting answers please watch this documentary.
" Murder by proxy: How America went postal."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfOQhh5-Ei8

If we really care for all people, we need to raise the question, Why? So we can decrease the violent behavior of everyone.

Until then, violence will increase and the foolish will accept further militarization of our police departments.

Norseman
3616
Points
Norseman 05/14/14 - 05:07 pm
2
0
Wha? 2 of our finest troopers

Wha?

2 of our finest troopers were murdered by being shot in the back by a lowlife coward and you somehow think you can tie this into a thread that correlates to the pyscho who went on a rampage as somehow being intertwined or connected?

You militia guys sure never miss a chance to attempt to spread your militia agenda. Isn't your militia group tagged as a domestic terrorist group by the fed's?

Fortunately, your fellow militia friend cox and his ill famed "two fer one program" netted him a long jail sentence so at least he won't be out killing troopers, judges, and their families.

RaySouthwell
1054
Points
RaySouthwell 05/15/14 - 07:07 am
0
0
Watch the Documentary

I again request you watch the documentary-Murder by Proxy; How American went Postal.

Rather you accept the increasing Police State and enjoy the name calling-"lowlife" "coward" and "Pyscho." Please share with us the names you have called me in the past. Fortunately, I am unbreakable.

When Bullying is an accepted practice violence increases because human beings are fragile and we must handle each other with care, respect and fairness.

As for Cox. Government bullied him and he did not break. Oh how they wanted him to go on a shooting rampage. Here is a published article from Fairbanks attorney Robert John on the injustice Cox received.
http://www.westernjournalism.com/governments-new-definition-terrorism-ex...

Back to Top

Spotted

Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321268/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321253/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321248/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321243/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321208/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/320593/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321173/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321163/
My Gallery

CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS