Emmonak lockdown ends with arrest of armed suspect

After being on lockdown for most of Monday afternoon, residents of Emmonak were finally able to leave their homes after an armed suspect arrested.
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:26 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2023 at 12:23 PM AKDT
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EMMONAK, Alaska (KTUU) - Officials in Emmonak report that a car theft that occurred during a funeral forced the village into lockdown for much of Monday afternoon.

According to City Manager Dave Roland, a funeral procession on Monday in the Western Alaska village ended with a man stealing a vehicle used to transport the body of the recently deceased to the cemetery for burial.

While the vehicle was parked at a nearby cemetery, a man carrying a rifle pointed the weapon at the vehicle before stealing it. He then drove the vehicle around for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before leaving it behind the community’s school building, where it was recovered.

The suspect, still carrying the weapon, then traveled down walking and snowmachine trails around town, prompting the village to be locked down until the man peacefully surrendered to authorities shortly before 5 p.m., Roland said.

Troopers said in a dispatch that the suspect also pointed a gun at multiple people.

The suspect was identified by troopers as 28-year-old John Prince, of Emmonak.

Prince was charged with four counts of third-degree assault and one count of first-degree vehicle theft. He was confined in the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center and troopers say additional charges may be filed.

No injuries were reported, and some residents reported that the suspect may have discharged his weapon at least once. Emmonak, which has only an unarmed village police officer, requested additional resources from Alaska State Troopers in the response.

This story has been updated with additional information.