Tanana, Alaska, near Sitka
Wikimedia Commons

A teenager has been charged with shooting two Alaskan State Troopers dead during a fracas involving his father.

Nathaniel Lee Kangas, 19, shot officers Gabriel Rich and Patrick Scott Johnson in the back with a rifle during a struggle while they attempted to arrest Kangas' father, Arvin.

Kangas Sr was wanted by police for threatening to shoot a local public safety official earlier in the week.

Sergeant Patrick Scott Johnson
State of Alaska/Department of Public Safety information office

The two State Troopers had appeared on the National Geographic show Alaska State Troopers. The TV show featured the officers as they patrolled hundreds of miles of some of the most inaccessible parts of Alaska.

The officers had a warrant to arrest Arvin Morse Kangas, 58, for driving without a licence and "pointing a shotgun at [the public safety official] as he drove by his residence" on 30 April.

They had travelled about 130 miles by plane to arrest Kangas in the remote village of Tanana on the afternoon of 1 May.

When they arrived a scuffle broke out. Alaska State Troopers director Colonel James Cockrell said:

"Troopers made contact with Arvin Kangas near the front door of his residence. While attempting to place Kangas under arrest a struggle ensued, this resulted in all three entering into the Kangas residence. While inside the residence both troopers were shot and killed by Nathaniel Kangas."

While Nathaniel was taken into custody shortly afterwards, his father fled, eventually surrendering later on Thursday evening.

Gabriel Rich
State of Alaska/Department of Public Safety information office

Nathaniel Lee Kangas was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and a count of third-degree assault when he appeared in court yesterday [3 May], with bail being set at $2 million.

Arvin Morse Kangas was charged with fourth-degree assault and driving with a revoked licence.

The judge asked Kangas if he had any comment, to which the teenager said only "I'm sorry". Kangas' mother Judy and younger brother Albert each gave brief apologies.

Mrs Kangas told the court. "I want to tell everybody, the families, from the bottom of my heart that I am sorry".

Many of officers Rich and Johnson's colleagues were tearful and emotional in court when Kangas Jr was charged.

Speaking in court, Col Cockrell said his officers would "take a long time to heal" after the murders. He added that he would press for the highest possible bail amount.