A 32-year-old woman was pepper-sprayed, shocked with a Taser and arrested on terroristic threatening charges Tuesday morning near the Anchorage Museum after telling authorities she planned to detonate an explosive in her backpack.
The incident occurred about 7:50 a.m., when museum security called Anchorage police for backup. A woman was refusing to leave a loading dock area on Sixth Avenue near A Street, police spokesman MJ Thim said. She had threatened the security officers with a knife, he said.
When police arrived, the woman was hiding behind a stairwell, Thim said.
"That's when she made the threat to us, saying she had an explosive device in her backpack," Thim said. "She said she was going to blow up herself, officers and the museum."
At that point, Thim said, police contacted the Department of Homeland Security to set up a perimeter. People were ordered to move away from the loading dock area. Authorities began negotiations with the woman, giving her multiple commands to leave the area, Thim said.
She refused each time, and police turned to pepper spray to subdue her, according to Thim. She continued to be combative, he said, and police then used Tasers to take her into custody.
The museum itself was not evacuated, said Jeanette Anderson Moores, public relations and marketing manager for the museum. Moores was working in her office when the incident occurred.
"It was totally handled by police," Moores said. She did not feel personally unsafe and was confident police and security had the situation under control, she said.
The museum opened normally at 9 a.m., she said.
Thim said the woman was combative after being taken into custody and while being evaluated by paramedics with the Anchorage Fire Department.
The woman, identified by police as Kate K. Okpeaha, faces multiple charges, including terroristic threatening, a felony.
Records show Okpeaha was also arrested less than two weeks ago, on Aug. 29, though the circumstances weren't immediately clear. She was charged in that case with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.