2 Alaska Officers Killed; Incident Triggers Standoff
Hoonah Police Dept. officers Tony Wallace, left, and officer Matt Tokuoka. Bob Prunella, acting city administrator for the village of Hoonah, says the officers died after a shooting late Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010. (AP)
August 30, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska—A standoff was under way Sunday in a tiny southeast Alaska village after a man fatally shot two of the village’s four full-time police officers the night before, then barricaded himself in his home, local officials said.
Hoonah police officers Tony Wallace and Matt Tokuoka died after the shooting late Saturday, said Bob Prunella, acting city administrator. Prunella didn’t know what led to the shooting but said it was witnessed by Wallace’s mother, who was visiting from Florida, and Tokuoka’s wife and children.
The suspect, 45-year-old John Marvin Jr., barricaded himself in his home, and Alaska State Troopers and other law enforcement agencies were at the scene, authorities said.
There was no sign of a quick end to the standoff, Prunella said Sunday evening.
“This could go on for a while,” he said. “They really want to get him alive.”
Troopers were urging residents in the shoreline community of about 800 to stay away from the area.
“Sadly, two police officers lost their lives. We hope to end this standoff without any further tragedy,” Col. Audie Holloway, head of the troopers, said in a statement.
Tokuoka left the home of his father-in-law, George Martin, just before the shooting. The 39-year-old officer was off-duty and had spent the evening there before leaving with his wife and two children, Martin said.
Soon after they left, Martin heard two shots. Wallace went down and Tokuoka told his wife and children to get away and then he was shot as well, Martin said.
“I imagine he was trying to administer help to this other officer when he got hit,” Martin said.
Prunella didn’t know how Wallace’s mother happened to witness the shooting.
Wallace, 32, died during surgery in Juneau, 40 miles east of Hoonah, and Tokuoka died early Sunday at a clinic in the Native village, according to Martin.
“The whole town’s in shock,” he said. “I’ve been getting calls all day. It’s a bad situation.”
Martin said his home is just a block and a half from Marvin’s. He didn’t know why the officers were ambushed but said police have had run-ins with Marvin in the past. He said Marvin lives alone.
Alaska State Troopers were leading a multi-agency response, and spokeswoman Megan Peters said a warrant was issued for Marvin’s arrest. The Coast Guard transported the Juneau Police Department’s SWAT team to the village, Peters said.
Prunella said the deaths leave the Tlingit community with just two full-time officers — the police chief and a trainee. He said the southeast Alaska town of Wrangell sent some officers to help out as needed.