A local man was shot and killed on Saturday night by a watch guard on the Kodiak Navy SEALs base, according to Alaska State Troopers.
The troopers received a call at 10:21 p.m. reporting that the man, later identified as Jayson Vinberg, 30, was shot at a secure facility in Kodiak.
Investigation revealed that a watch guard inside the facility saw Vinberg trespassing and tapping on the windows of a watch building with a knife, said a trooper report of the incident.
The duty officer reportedly told Vinberg that he needed to leave the premises. The duty officer subsequently exited the building to confirm that Vinberg was leaving.
Instead of leaving, Vinberg started to walk toward the duty officer “brandishing a knife,” said the report.
The report also said that after failing to obey the duty officer's repeated commands to stop walking toward him, the officer shot Vinberg with a handgun.
Responding medics declared Vinberg dead. Kodiak patrol troopers initially responded to secure the scene. On Sunday, Alaska Bureau of Investigation personnel responded from Anchorage to investigate and assumed case responsibility.
Vinberg is survived by his wife Becky Vinberg and their two young sons, age 5 and 11.
Becky said Vinberg was an “amazing father” who would take his sons “hiking, play basketball with them, read them stories.”
Becky, who lives in Utah, said she spoke to him Saturday afternoon and that he was “happy and smiling.”
“He was lighthearted,” she said, adding that during their last conversation they spoke about how they were spending their days and about their children.
Denise Pavloff went to high school with Vinberg and reiterated that her longtime friend was a good father and good person.
“He was an awesome friend growing up and throughout high school,” she said in a Facebook message to the Kodiak Daily Mirror.
Vinberg grew up in Kodiak and returned to The Rock in February from Farmington, Utah, after living off-island for 12 years.
“He was the kind of guy that would do anything for anyone. Everyone down here is heartbroken,” Becky said.
Family members said Vinberg returned to the island to “reconnect with his mother” and “re-center himself.”
In Utah, he worked in construction, and upon his return to Kodiak, he began working on his uncle’s boat, the F/V Family Pride.
The day he died, Vinberg had been staining his aunt’s deck, “only interrupted by a phone call,” said his uncle, adding that Vinberg ate dinner that night at his mother’s house.
Vinberg’s family members said they did not know what his plans were that night, but they noted that he did not have any money or a vehicle.
According to his family, Vinberg had lived on Spruce Cape, where the Navy base is located, for a time during his youth.
“It would have taken him a while to foot it to Spruce Cape and go on the Navy base,” said his aunt, Anna Vinberg, of the incident on Saturday. “He was probably reminiscing.”
Anna said she could not picture Vinberg doing anything that would make someone feel threatened.
“I have known him for years and years,” she said. “He was a very soft-spoken, easy-going guy.”
DJ Vinberg, his uncle, said his nephew was good natured and a happy-go-lucky man.
“We are just trying to fit the pieces together,” he said. “Jayson is not this crazy kid that would go take on an armed guard. Anybody that knew Jayson would not even consider that as an option for him. If that side of him existed, he kept it hidden.”
The investigation into Vinberg’s death is being conducted jointly by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and the Naval Criminal Investigative Unit.
“An unauthorized civilian entered the Naval Special Warfare Detachment Kodiak compound and attempted to enter one of its buildings. A Naval Special Warfare service member confronted the intruder, and events led to the service member utilizing deadly force,” said Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokesperson for Naval Special Warfare.
According to Navy spokesperson Jeff Houston, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is leading the investigation because the incident occurred on a Navy base.
“Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS will not release any additional information at this time,” Houston wrote in an email.
The duty officer's name won't be released until after consultation with the Alaska U.S. Attorney's Office and until after the NCIS investigation is complete.
The shooting occurred at the Naval Special Warfare Detachment Kodiak, a training area for the Navy’s maritime special operations force located at the end of Spruce Cape Road.
According to the Navy, the Naval Special Warfare started using the training area in 1987 to conduct over-the-beach and cold weather training for SEALs platoons.