Northwest Digest

Posted: Monday, August 06, 2007

Teens accused offiring gun in village

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ANCHORAGE - Two Tununak teenagers are accused of firing a shotgun around the village while intoxicated and pointing it at people.

Village police officer Richard Lincoln and others wrestled Edward Moses and Clarence James into submission Wednesday night and took them into custody, Alaska State Troopers said. James, 19, unlocked his handcuffs with a paperclip and fled to a relative's house, where troopers found him the next day, according troopers.

Jimmy Inakak, 21, said he was working the cash register at the village store Wednesday evening when James and Moses, 18, entered with a shotgun.

About eight customers were in the store at the time, Inakak said. Moses and James stood looking at them for a while and went back out.

Inakak said he heard a shot outside shortly after. The two teens came back in the store, and Moses looked at Inakak and shook his head, the store clerk said.

The teens didn't point the gun at anyone, but tension was thick, according to Inakak.

"It seemed like they really wanted to do something," he said.

Inakak said he and the customers slowly filed out - no one wanted to make a sudden move for fear of setting off the teens.

"They looked at me and they told me to come back in but I didn't," Inakak said. "It happened so fast, I don't know when and how I ran away. I just did."

Everyone scattered. Inakak ran to a relative's house.

The two teens took money and ammunition from the store, troopers said.

About 8:30 p.m. the call for a village lockdown was broadcast over VHF radios found in most homes in the village, Inakak said. People were told to stay inside. Inakak heard shots fired.

Troopers have charged James and Moses with robbery, assault, misconduct involving weapons, burglary, criminal mischief and theft. The teens were taken to the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center where they are being held without bail.

Residents blamed for bear's death at Tahoe

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Residents who improperly dispose of trash are to blame for the fatal shooting of a bear by authorities last week at Lake Tahoe, a Nevada Department of Wildlife official said.

The 660-pound animal was shot after it wandered Thursday into an Incline Village home through an open window and lunged at a Washoe County sheriff's deputy.

"It may not have been the people whose house it entered, but the neighborhood is definitely to blame. This bear was getting into trash in the Incline area for at least the last two years," NDOW biologist Carl Lackey told the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.

"Our policy is if the bear is just getting into trash then we do education on the bear and the people, but once it breaks into homes it must be euthanized," he added.

Improper disposal of trash continues to be a problem in Incline Village, despite repeated attempts to educate the public about steps that can be taken to reduce human food sources for bears, officials said.

In 2005, officials launched the Bear Aware Program and strengthened the community's trash ordinance to try to reduce bear-human conflicts. The moves came after three garbage-foraging bears had to be killed in Incline Village in 2004.

Lackey said the bear killed Thursday had been a nuisance in past years, but had never posed a threat to humans.

"It's really unfortunate. It was a real pretty bear, one of our research bears," he said. "But it kept getting into garbage. People weren't doing anything about it, and this is what happens."

With a growing population encroaching on their turf at Lake Tahoe, bears have adapted, and many have adopted a diet of human food.

Authorities said a homeowner called for help after finding the bear in the main part of the home, then hid with other family members in a master bedroom.

The animal growled and charged through an open window at a deputy, who shot the bear with a shotgun at close range.

But the bear kept going and was tracked to a nearby home, where it was killed.

Reno coyotes prompt pet owner warnings

RENO, Nev. - Wildlife officials have issued a warning to Reno-area pet owners, saying a bolder population of urban coyotes is on the prowl for dogs, cats and other pets.

Jack Spencer, supervisory wildlife biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services, said coyote activity increases this time of year because the animals are trying to feed growing pups.

Wildlife officials have received scores of calls from local residents who have lost pets to coyotes.

"They're just everywhere, especially this time of year," Spencer told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "People are losing a lot of animals.

"These animals have become habituated to us. They're just getting bolder and bolder," he added.

Spencer said coyotes are being lured to cities across the West by water and food available year-round. Hundreds of coyotes live around Reno.

"Reno is one of the coyote capitals of the U.S.," he said. "They've always been on the outskirts, but more and more, probably in the last 10 years, they've really moved into the interior."



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