Suspect arrested in Hoonah officer slayings

HOONAH: Both policemen were shot in the presence of their family members.

August 30, 2010 

A man accused of shooting and killing two Hoonah police officers in front of their families was captured Monday after a two-day standoff.

Sgt. Anthony Wallace was gunned down in front of his mother Saturday night on the main street of the Southeast Alaska village. His mother, Debbie Greene, was on a police ride-a-long with her son during her first visit to Alaska.

Wallace had been leaning into the truck of his off-duty partner, Officer Matthew Tokuoka, talking to Tokuoka's toddler when the shooting began, she said.

Tokuoka was shot and killed, too, in front of his wife and two of his four children.

After the shooting started, Greene said she picked up the police radio in her son's patrol car and called for help. "Officers down," she called.

The killings launched a standoff that ended shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday with the capture of accused shooter John Marvin Jr., 45. He is being charged with two counts of first degree murder, said state troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

The shootings froze life in the Tlingit village of about 800 people. Authorities vacated surrounding homes, school officials told students to stay at home Monday and ships bypassed the port.

"They had cordoned off the streets for a block ... in all directions," said Charla Wright, chief administrator for Hoonah City Schools.

Trauma teams were expected in the village as early as Monday afternoon to provide counseling to residents, Wright said. The school will reopen today, Wright said.

The standoff led the Coast Guard to close the port in Hoonah for more than 24 hours, forcing the state ferry LeConte to bypass the village Sunday, according to the state Department of Transportation. City officials said some vessels were allowed to come to town, but a cruise ship was rerouted until later in the week.

"The whole town's relieved," said George Martin, whose son-in-law, Tokuoka, was one of the slain officers. His grandson, also named George, was in Tokuoka's pickup when the shooting began.

During the standoff, Martin stayed at his daughter home, less than two blocks from where the alleged shooter had shuttered himself inside. Police had blocked off about 400 or 500 feet of Front Street as the village awaited the outcome.

Nino Villarreal, who has lived in Hoonah more than 30 years, watched from a hill above.

"They had the megaphone talking to this individual for a while," he said. "All night long, and through the next day. Telling him to surrender and there was no response."

Shortly before Marvin was caught, Villarreal saw what looked like smoke or fog pouring through a busted window, he said.

Troopers haven't said whether they used tear gas or other means to get Marvin out of the house. Martin, Tokuoka's father-in-law, said he heard what sounded like as many as a dozen canisters being fired into the home.

"When he came out, he had his hands above his head," Martin said.


The shootings killed two of the village's three full-time policemen.

The Wrangell police department sent two officers on Sunday to fill in, while the police chief of Yakutat was on his way Monday, said acting city administrator Bob Prunella.

Officers in other Southeast towns are offering to bring their badges to Hoonah too.

He has offers from Craig, Sitka and Ketchikan, Prunell said.

Meantime, an account for the policemen's families is in the works through Alaska Pacific Bank of Juneau, friends said.

Tokuoka was from Hawaii and a former Marine Corps staff sergeant. His military background was in special operations, according to the Hoonah police website. He had worked for the department off and on since spring 2009 and was waiting to get into an upcoming law enforcement academy class.

Wallace, the son of a military policeman, was born in Germany and raised in Franklin, Ohio, said Jamie Brothers, a former girlfriend who remains close with Wallace's mother. An All-American wrestler at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., he worked as a campus safety officer.

A love of the outdoors brought him to Alaska, Brothers said.

Debbie Greene, of St. Petersburg, Fla., had come to Hoonah a few days before the shooting to visit her son. Together, they walked in the woods and went fishing, Greene said in a short phone interview Monday.

"He loved his job. He loved this town," she said.


Greene rode with her son, Wallace, on patrol late Saturday night when the policeman saw Tokuoka, his partner. Tokuoka had left a late-night gathering, eating crab with family, just minutes before.

Tokuoka was on his way to throw silver salmon guts in a Dumpster near the liquor store -- a precaution against bears, his father-in-law said. The police officer's baby daughter and 6-year-old son were in the Chevy pickup when Wallace leaned in to talk.

That's when the shooting started.

"This guy just opened fire and shot Tony in the leg and when Tony went down, he shot him again in the back," Brothers said.

Tokuoka yelled for his family to get to safety, Brothers said. Marvin shot him twice as he tried to help his partner.

Read The Village, the ADN's blog about rural Alaska, at Twitter updates: Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334.

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