A U.S. Coast Guard seaman based in Alameda has been charged with murder and other counts for the beating death of a shipmate in Alaska in January, Coast Guard officials said on Friday.
Following a seven-month-long investigation, Coast Guard Seaman Ethan W. Tucker was charged with murder on Wednesday for the shipmate's death in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard didn't release the victim's name but an online obituary identified him as Seaman Ethan Kelch, who was from Norfolk, Virginia.
The obituary says Kelch was serving on the Douglas Munro, which is based out of Kodiak, Alaska.
The Coast Guard said Tucker was charged with violating seven articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, maiming, obstructing justice, making a false official statement and failing to obey an order or regulation.
Tucker was arrested at the Alameda Coast Guard base on Wednesday and transported to the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego, where he awaits court martial proceedings, according to the Coast Guard.
"Since our shipmate's untimely passing, we have been in contact with his family to provide as much support as possible throughout this tragic and difficult time," Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Brickey said in a statement.
"The charges are the result of the Coast Guard's steadfast desire to gather all the facts and seek justice," Brickey said.
If Tucker is found guilty he faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, dishonorable discharge and total forfeiture of pay and allowances.