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Kodiak Island Coast Guard killer still at large, 2 months later

Amanda Coyne
Kodiak Police Chief T.C. Kamai says that he and his officers are standing by, ready to assist in the investigation. So far they have not had an opportunity to do so. May 9, 2012.
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Kodiak's harbor was full of fishing boats getting ready to leave on May 9, 2012.
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Ken "Dawg" Carlson, a longliner, was preparing to leave Kodiak to fish for halibut on May 8, 2012. He has been fishing for the past 29 years.
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Residents of the Bells Flats neighborhood are concerned that there is an unsolved double murder on the island. Their children still play in the neighborhood but things aren't as they were. May 7, 2012.
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Coast Guardsmen repair a helicopter at the Coast Guard Base Kodiak on May 7, 2012.
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Customers at Henry's Restaurant in Kodiak play pull tabs. May 7, 2012.
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Notices, mainly posted by people looking for work in the fishing industry, adorn a wall at Harborside Coffee on May 9, 2012.
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A memorial remembering Richard Belisle at the Rendezvous Bar in the Bells Flats neighborhood of Kodiak, May 9, 2012. Belisle was a regular at the bar.
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Patrons play pool at the Rendezvous bar in the Bells Flats neighborhood of Kodiak. One of the victims of the April 12, 2012 shootings, Richard Belisle, was a regular at the bar.
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A Russian Orthodox graveyard overlooks the city of Kodiak on May 9, 2012.
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The city of Kodiak, population 6,100, is the largest community on Kodiak Island, the second largest island in the U.S. May 7, 2012.
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The home of Richard and Nicola Belisle, foreground, looks across to Jim and Nancy Wells' home on May 9, 2012. Belisle and James Hopkins were killed on April 12, 2012. The FBI has not named a suspect. Wells' home and property have been searched. The FBI shortly after the shooting asked the public for information on two vehicles that match the description of those belonging to the Wells.
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Toy soldiers, anonymously placed around downtown Kodiak in the wake of the coast guard killings of April 12, 2012. Photographed on May 9, 2012.
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Ryan Harris, a bartender at the military-friendly "Bernie's" in Kodiak on May 6, 2012. Because of the supporting nature of the Coast Guard's mission, the community is well-integrated and there is little conflict.
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The rigging shop, part of the Coast Guard's Kodiak Base Communication Station, was the scene of a double murder on April 12, 2012. The main building is secure. The rigging shop is less so. Photographed May 7, 2012.
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Coast Guardsmen aboard the buoy tender Spar, in dock at the Coast Guard base in Kodiak, on May 7, 2012.
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The Coast Guard base in Kodiak, Alaska, May 7, 2012.
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It's been two months now and there's still no arrest for the April 12 shootings of two men in broad daylight on the U.S. Coast Guard base at Kodiak Island. The killings shocked Kodiak, a community of about 6,000, of which roughly half are either active or retired Coast Guard.

The FBI is leading the investigation and working with the Coast Guard Investigative Services and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

FBI spokesman Eric Gonzales said Tuesday that there's nothing new to report on the investigation.

The killings of Rich Belisle and James Hopkins, retired and active Coast Guard members, respectively, happened in the rigger shop next to the Guard's communication center, referred to by Coasties as ComSta, located about three miles from the main base and one mile off the highway in town.

The rigger shop is where repairs are done on roughly 40 antennas for Coast Guard communications stations across Alaska. The stations do everything from tracking aircraft to relaying messages from ships in distress to transmitting weather updates. Sixty people work at ComSta. At least six are on duty at any time, including two civilians. The two civilians who worked at the shop were Belisle and James Wells.  

Although he hasn't been named as an official suspect, the FBI searched the Wells house and agents have been watching it from a house nearby.

According to official accounts, the double murder happened between 7 and 8 a.m. Belisle's shift began at 7 a.m. Others in the crew were supposed to start at 7:30 a.m. A worker at ComSta found the two men shot dead.

Unlike the ComSta station -- which is behind a security fence -- the rigger shop where the men's bodies were found appears unguarded.

Nicola Belisle, Rich's widow, and her two daughters have been in Colorado for a few weeks. They needed to get off the island, she said. Her house overlooks the Wells house.

"I expected it to be done with by now," she said. The FBI is the best in the business, she said. "I still trust that they're going find the person that did this and prosecute them."

Contact Amanda Coyne at amanda(at)alaskadispatch.com