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Two Alaska troopers who appeared on reality TV killed in remote village

An illustration showing a black band across an officer's shield appears on the official Facebook page of the Alaska State Troopers in Anchor
An illustration showing a black band across an officer's shield appears on the official Facebook page of the Alaska State Troopers in Anchor

By Steve Quinn

JUNEAU, Alaska (Reuters) - Two Alaska State Troopers, who have been featured in a reality TV show, were killed while investigating a report of a person brandishing a gun in a remote village, officials said on Friday.

The two troopers killed on Thursday, Sergeant Patrick Johnson and Trooper Gabriel Rich, worked for a rural services unit and had appeared on the National Geographic Channel's reality television show "Alaska State Troopers."

State troopers have since arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the shooting deaths in the Yukon River village of Tanana, said Department of Public safety spokeswoman Megan Peters. A community of about 250-300 people, Tanana is accessible only by plane or boat.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said the men had died in a "horrific act," but did not provide details on the incident, which occurred about 45 minutes by plane west of Fairbanks.

"These fallen heroes answered the call to serve and protect, and made the ultimate sacrifice, while keeping our communities safe," he said in a statement.

The two officers were among scores of state troopers who have helped raise the agency's profile for their work in Alaska's far-flung regions under unforgiving weather conditions, and sometimes, with back-up at least a day or hundreds of miles away.

The two officers had appeared on several episodes of "Alaska State Troopers," now in its fifth season. Chris Albert, a spokesman at National Geographic Channel, said any episodes featuring the fallen troopers will no longer air. A film crew was not with Johnson and Rich at the time of their deaths.

"National Geographic Channel is incredibly saddened to learn of the loss of two Alaska State Troopers," Albert said.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by G Crosse and Cynthia Johnston)

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