Alaska whaling village teen pleads not guilty to 16 felony counts in shooting that left 2 dead

FILE - The sun sets outside of the northwest Alaska village of Point Hope on the Chukchi Sea, Feb. 21, 2024. An arraignment is scheduled Friday, March 8, 2024, for Guy Nashookpuk, a 16-year-old charged as an adult in the shooting deaths of two people in the remote Alaska whaling village of Point Hope. (Ka'ainoa Ravey via AP, File)

FILE – The sun sets outside of the northwest Alaska village of Point Hope on the Chukchi Sea, Feb. 21, 2024. An arraignment is scheduled Friday, March 8, 2024, for Guy Nashookpuk, a 16-year-old charged as an adult in the shooting deaths of two people in the remote Alaska whaling village of Point Hope. (Ka’ainoa Ravey via AP, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A 16-year-old boy charged as an adult in the shooting deaths of two people in the northwest Alaska whaling village of Point Hope was arraigned Friday on 16 felony counts.

Daniel Dalle-Molle, the public defender for Guy Nashookpuk, entered not guilty pleas to the charges leveled against the teen by a grand jury.

Nashookpuk, who appeared telephonically from jail for the proceeding at the courthouse in Kotzebue, did not speak during the arraignment, which took less than five minutes.

Judge Paul Roetman set an omnibus hearing, in which lawyers and the judge handle pretrial matters, for May 8.

Nashookpuk faces two counts each of first- and second-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder, seven counts of assault and a burglary charge in the shooting Feb. 25 that left two people dead and two others injured.

The names of the victims have not been released, and the North Slope Borough spokesperson did not return a message Friday explaining why. Court documents only referred to victims by their initials.

Roetman maintained Nashookpuk’s $1 million bail, which was set at his first court appearance Feb. 27.

Few details of the shooting in the remote village about 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage and 200 miles (322 kilometers) from Russia have emerged.

Initial charging documents said North Slope Borough police found a man and woman dead and two other men wounded when officers responded to a shooting at a Point Hope home.

One witness told officers she saw the teen enter the home with a handgun and begin shooting. Others said they saw him flee on a four-wheeler.

Less than 10 minutes later, the teen’s father escorted him to the police station and reported “that his son had told him that he did it,” court documents said.

Police said in a later interview with his parents present, the teen admitted to the shooting, according to the charging document.

No motive has been released.

Point Hope, with a population of about 675, sits on a triangular spit of land that juts into the Chukchi Sea. The community, known as Tikigaq in Inupiaq, is laid out in a treeless grid around the Tikigaq School — “Home of the Harpooners.”

AP U.S. News

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