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Grand jury indicts 2 in lodge-assault case

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Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — Two workers at a remote Alaska lodge have been indicted on assault and weapons charges after allegedly confronting two guests while brandishing loaded firearms.
A grand jury returned indictments Friday against Michael G. York, 26, and Devon G. Fernandez, 35, both of whom worked for Icy Bay Lodge, which is about 300 miles southeast of Anchorage and between the communities of Cordova and Yakutat, the Juneau Empire reported ( ) Wednesday.
The two Icy Bay Lodge employees are accused of being intoxicated and brandishing weapons June 27 when they confronted two people staying at the lodge and connected to a Diablo, California, gold exploration and mining company.
York and Fernandez confronted Steve Gorin, who owns the Orovada Exploration and Mining, Inc., and his assistant, Amy Oakley, according to court documents.
Court documents didn’t list why York, a guide at the lodge, and Fernandez, the lodge’s boat captain, were upset. But Yakutat Police Chief Robert Baty previously said officers determined that York and Fernandez had become extremely intoxicated and confronted the California duo about “mining and its effects on Alaska.” Baty had said the Californians had not been drinking.
York threatened Gorin in his cabin, which prompted Oakley to seek help, according to an affidavit. York and Fernandez then got into a fight with Gorin outside the cabin.
The fight was broken up by other lodge employees, but police said York returned to Gorin’s cabin with a rifle and threatened to kill him.
“They stated they were afraid of being shot by the defendant as he wildly thrust the weapon in their direction,” Yakutat Police Department Officer Jean Achee wrote in his complaint.
York also was charged with assaulting another lodge employee, who was present at the scene, by placing her in fear of danger because of the gun.
The affidavit also says Gorin and Oakley later saw Fernandez in an area across from the cabin, and he was holding a firearm in a threatening manner.
Authorities were called that night, and an Alaska State Trooper and Achee flew to the area the following morning.
Police said they found York’s Mini-14 rifle “broken and thrown” in the woods near the lodge. Police said in the complaint that it had a loaded magazine and a live cartridge in the chamber when they found it.
Two shotguns were recovered from Fernandez’s cabin, and both were loaded and chambered, prosecutors said.
York was released from custody and is staying with his parents near Denver, court records shows. Fernandez also has been released, with the condition he not possess alcohol or firearms.
Messages left Wednesday by The Associated Press seeking comment from both defense attorneys weren’t immediately returned. Gorin declined comment when reached by the Empire, saying a civil lawsuit might be filed.

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