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Hunters injured in shooting near Kiana

Alaska Dispatch

Two hunters were shot by a third man north of Kiana, a remote village about 500 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, according to Alaska State Troopers and Associated Press reports.

The shooting prompted village officials to order the community into lockdown for much of Wednesday. It was the second such lockdown in a month.

Troopers arrived in the village Wednesday afternoon. One of the men was shot in the chest and the other man, in the arm, the AP reported Wednesday evening. The men were medevacked to Kotzebue and Anchorage for treatment of gunshot wounds.

According to troopers, the incident occured sometime Tuesday evening, at the confluence of the Squirrel and Omar rivers, about 40 miles northwest of Kiana. The report didn't come in until shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, prompting troopers from Kotzebue to respond.

"There was a big delay in the time of the incident to when it was reported," said Meghan Peters, a troopers spokesperson, though she couldn't specify exactly what the reasons for that delay were, nor if a person present at the time of the incident was the one to report it.

A trooper dispatch on the incident said that two hunters floating down the Squirrel River on an inflatable boat stopped at a cabin and found another person already occupying it. "An altercation occured and the two hunters were both shot," the dispatch said. The suspect then took the boat and equipment and moved downriver, troopers said.

Troopers were able to reach the site at about 11 a.m., Peters said.

The community of Noorvik, located about 20 miles southwest and downriver from Kiana, was also on lockdown for a couple of hours between about 3:30 and 5:30 a.m., according to the city administrator there. She said that troopers advised city officials that it was unlikely the suspect in the shooting would travel as far as Noorvik, but Peters said that troopers allowed communities to determine their best course of action.