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Southeast Alaska lodge employees held on assault charges

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Posted: Monday, June 30, 2014 3:43 pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Two employees of a southeast Alaska lodge who were upset by a California couple's interest in mining in the area are accused of threatening the couple with firearms, authorities said Monday.

Michael York, 26, of Colorado, and Devon Fernandez, 35, of Virginia, were awaiting transfer Monday to the Anchorage jail following the weekend incident, the Anchorage Daily News reported (http://is.gd/1q0cay ).

York's attorney, Robert Herz, declined immediate comment when reached Monday by The Associated Press. Online court records didn't list an attorney for Fernandez.

A call to 911 early Saturday morning alerted troopers to a "possible assault involving a firearm and an ongoing disturbance."

A wildlife trooper and a Yakutat police officer flew to the lodge Saturday morning to investigate.

Yakutat Police Chief Robert Baty said the officers determined that York and Fernandez had gotten extremely intoxicated Friday night. They confronted the couple from California about "mining and its effects on Alaska," Baty told the Daily News, noting the couple had not been drinking.

There was a physical altercation before York left and came back with a Ruger Mini-14 rifle, Baty said.

"At that point, of course, it became a felony assault," he said.

York left the area, but then Fernandez showed up with a 12-gauge shotgun and pointed it at the couple, Baty said.

The lodge manager separated everyone before calling 911, Baty said. No shots were fired, and there were no injuries.

Besides the two victims, who were in the area exploring the possibility of mining in the area, Baty said there were four other witnesses to the argument.

York and Fernandez were arrested and arraigned on assault charges. Troopers said other charges were pending, including additional assault counts, evidence tampering and misconduct involving weapons.

Both were arraigned in Yakutat and housed in temporary holding cells with bail set at $10,000.

___

Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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