A. Kangas Pleads ‘Guilty’ to Assault IV Charges

Arvin Kangas at his arraignment.
Arvin Kangas at his arraignment.

Monday saw 59-year-old Arvin Kangas in Fairbanks court to answer to the charge of Assault IV in the incident that lead up to the deaths of two Fairbanks -based Alaska State Troopers in Tanana earlier this year on May 1st.

In court, Kangas pleaded “Guilty” to a consolidated charge of Assault IV, and in exchange, received a sentence of 30 days in jail. Although Kangas has been in jail since May, he will remain in custody on four counts of Evidence Tampering and four counts of Hindering Prosecution. The trial date on those charges is set for mid-April.

The charges on Monday culminated from the incident that would lead to the deaths of Sgt Patrick Johnson and Trooper Gabriel Rich on May 1 in the community of Tanana.

On April 30, Tanana’s VPSO, Mark Haglin was called to a residence in the community because of a dispute over a couch. It was alleged that Kangas had sold the couch to a resident there and had failed to get paid for it and so threatened to remove the piece of furniture.

Kangas would leave the residence prior to the arrival of VPSO Haglin, but Haglin would see Kangas later on a four-wheeler and Haglin would observe that Kangas may have been drinking. Haglin told Kangas to go home at that time, but would later see him out on his four-wheeler later in the day.

When going to the Kangas home later, Kangas was on the porch with a firearm. According to records, Kangas pointed the firearm in a threatening manner while looking at Haglin. Haglin would report that encounter to troopers in Fairbanks, and the next day, Troopers Johnson and Rich would respond. Johnson and Rich were shot and killed when attempting to arrest Kangas on the charges. They were shot by Arvin Kangas son, Nathaniel Kangas.

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