Alaska State Troopers arrest 1 following reports of shots fired in Kake

Kake’s waterfront in May 2021 (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

The community of Kake was on lockdown Tuesday morning following reports of an active shooter who began firing a weapon in the early hours of the morning. Now authorities confirm that a suspect, 48-year-old Keith Nelson of Kake, has been arrested and flown off the island.

“The troopers landed. He was taken into custody up there, so he’s out of here,” Organized Village of Kake’s tribal president Joel Jackson said. “It started with a break-in at our grade school, and then there was some gunfire up in our housing project.”

Alaska State Troopers confirmed earlier this morning that authorities were en route to the village of 500 people on Kupreanof Island to reports of shots fired, and that Nelson was taken into custody without incident.

“At this time we are not aware of any injuries and based on initial information we do not believe the individual was threatening any individual person,” Department of Public Safety spokesperson Austin McDaniel said earlier this morning.

Katie Rogers is a teacher’s aide at the Kake school. She says she lives too far away to have heard gunfire but she understands most of the town had closed its doors with people sheltering in place most of the morning.

“The grocery store’s shut down, the school is shut down and the clinic is shut down and everybody’s been told to stay home and lock their doors,” she said earlier.

But Jackson says the all-clear has been issued and people are venturing outdoors again.

“Nobody was hurt, everybody stayed indoors while this thing played out,” he said.

Kake has no permanent police presence in the community.

“It’d be nice if we had law enforcement in our small village,” Jackson said. He says village public safety officers are on a rotation that leaves the village with no law enforcement for two weeks at a time.

“We’ve got nothing. Basically we answer calls because people don’t know who to call,” he added.

This story has been updated with details from Alaska State Troopers.

Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska

Jacob Resneck is CoastAlaska's regional news director based in Juneau. CoastAlaska is our partner in Southeast Alaska. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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