Crime & Courts

Two days after shooting, ‘dangerous’ Utqiagvik suspect still on the loose

Update, 9:30 a.m. Tuesday:

More than two days after a shooting that killed one man, the North Slope Borough Police Department is still looking for an "armed and dangerous" suspect in Utqiagvik.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, Asiagin Dana Ahmaogak was not in custody, the police department said on Facebook.

Borough Mayor Harry K. Brower Jr. released a statement Monday calling the shooting "intolerable" and asking for the public's help in finding Ahmaogak.

The borough is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Ahmaogak's apprehension.

Though the police department has released no official information about the circumstances, Brower hinted in the statement that the shooting involved alcohol and said enforcing "a stricter drug and alcohol policy Slope wide" was a priority.

"Guns and alcohol don't mix well," he wrote.

Local leaders should "look at crafting legislation" to make shootings less likely in Utqiagvik, the statement said.

Brower Jr. also scolded North Slope residents for widespread social media conversation about the incident and search, some of which has been critical of the police department.

"I would also like to encourage our residents at this time to focus on faith and our core Inupiat values and to refrain from posting to social media and sharing rumors or hearsay," the statement said.

Original story: 

With an "armed and dangerous" man on the loose for more than 24 hours, people in Utqiagvik say they are on edge.

On Monday morning, police in the North Slope town said they were still looking for Asiagin Dana Ahmaogak, who is wanted for questioning in the shooting of at least one person Sunday morning.

"Everyone is terrified," said Rose Elizabeth Elbert, a former employee of the police department who lives in Utqiagvik with her family. "People are like, 'Should I be bringing my kids to school?' "

Schools were locked and principals were manning front doors, said a secretary at Barrow High School.

The basic facts about the shooting remained unclear: The North Slope Borough Police Department did not respond to repeated requests for information about the shooting, including where and when it happened, how many people were shot and if anyone was injured or killed.

"All I can say is a shooting occurred," said Forrest "Deano" Olemaun, the chief executive officer for the North Slope Borough. "Because it's still under investigation I cannot release any information beyond that."

But in a public Facebook fundraiser, the family of Edmund Siologa identified him as being killed in the shooting.

On Monday morning, police posted a statement on Facebook saying the department has its "best officers working" on the case and imploring members of the community to call police with information on Ahmaogak's whereabouts.

Borough police also announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to Ahmaogak's arrest.

A release by the mayor's office indicated there was more than one shooting, but did not provide further details. Police referred questions to the mayor's office.

Borough Mayor Harry Brower Jr. says in a statement released Monday that he was "deeply troubled to learn of the recent shootings."

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said the agency was not involved in the investigation.

On Sunday, when someone posted on an Utqiagvik crime reporting Facebook group that a man was walking down the street with a rifle, dozens of people shared it, asking if it was the suspect and telling their families to stay inside.

"It could have been someone walking around looking, someone just going hunting," Elbert said. "But people are really nervous."

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.