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Manokotak man charged with murder in village officer's death

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 8:26 am | Updated: 2:26 pm, Wed Mar 20, 2013.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A Manokotak official who was fatally shot Tuesday is the second Alaska village safety patrol officer killed in the line of duty and the first since 1986.

Authorities have identified the victim as Thomas O. Madola, 54. He became a village safety patrol officer in 2011 and was formerly an Assembly of God pastor in Bethel, the Anchorage Daily News reported (http://is.gd/4fFmAA).

Madola's body was found outside the home of Leroy B. Dick Jr., 42.

Dick appeared in court Wednesday, and was charged with first-degree murder. He was assigned a public defender. A message left Wednesday by The Associated Press with the Public Defender Agency in Dillingham wasn't immediately returned.

Alaska State Troopers said Madola called them Tuesday afternoon, saying he was going to talk to Dick about an issue. Such calls to troopers are  standard procedure.

But about an hour later, troopers began getting calls about shots in the Western Alaska village.

Madola's body was found outside Dick's home by four troopers, who flew to the village from Dillingham. Troopers haven't said why they believe Dick shot him.

"There was some sort of conflict that we were told about," Trooper Col. Keith Mallard told the Daily News. "The VPSO was going to investigate."

Mallard says a troopers sergeant called Dick, "ultimately leading to him giving himself up."

Madola's body was sent to Anchorage for an autopsy to determine how many times he was shot.

"There was substantial injuries to his head, chest, abdomen and thigh," Mallard said.

The first VSPO to die in the line of duty was Ronald Zimin, who was shot while responding to a disturbance call in South Naknek in 1986.

Manokotak is located about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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