Two Police Officers Fatally Wounded in Rural Alaska Shooting
Posted: Thursday, November 11th, 2010 at 11:22 am
Alaska police are engaged in a standoff with a man who is accused of having fatally shot two rural law enforcement officers, say authorities.
Matthew Tokuka, 39, and Sergeant Anthony Wallace, 32, were shot in what was later described by Alaska State Troopers as “an ambush.” The troopers were called in by the police department in Hoonah, Alaska, a small town located on an island approximately 62 miles north of Sitka, Alaska and 68 miles west of Juneau by ferry. Police from Juneau deployed a tactical team in order to assist the emergency response teams sent by the state troopers. The Coast Guard also stepped in to help, transporting resources and taking one of the wounded officers to a medical facility in Juneau. Both officers later died from their injuries.
Several other agencies, including the Alaska Division of Wildlife troopers and the U.S. Forest Service, were also lending a hand.
The suspect, John Marvin Jr., has barricaded himself in his home, according to a local television station.
“The only information we have is that he’s had problems with law enforcement in that community in the past, and there were some issues of stability,” said Alaska State Troopers Capt. Barry Wilson in an interview with television station KTUU.
Hoonah, with only 800 residents, may be feeling the loss of its officers particularly keenly, as there is now no one on the force save the chief of police. Troopers will provide temporary staffing for the Hoonah police. In the meantime, residents are asked to stay indoors and away from the area where the standoff is taking place. Some businesses in the town were closed.
The shooting took place late Saturday evening, about 10:30 p.m. It is unclear what the motivation for the attack may have been.
Wallace, who was hard-of-hearing, was a 2003 graduate of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is a part of Rochester Institute of Technology. He worked as a campus police officer, then joined the police academy, where he helped train police officers about interacting with deaf and heared-impaired people. He joined the Hoonah police force in 2008.
Tokuoka, who was originally from Hawaii, was a former Marine Corps staff sergeant and had been with the Hoonah police force only since 2009.