The standoff between Alaska state troopers and the man they say killed two police officers in the village of Hoonah, a very small town near Juneau, ended this morning.
Suspect John Marvin Jr., 45, surrendered to the state police following an extended standoff.
Marvin has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shootings of Sgt. Anthony Wallace and Officer Matthew Tokuoka of the Hoonah Police Department. He is the only suspect in the murders. A motive for the shootings has not been released.
Reports say Marvin opened fire on Wallace and Tokuoka Saturday night. Wallace was on duty but Tokuoka was off duty in his car with his wife and children and had stopped to chat with his fellow officer. Tokuoka had just rejoined the Hoonah police to fill in for another officer who was attending the state academy in Sitka. Wallace was a three-year veteran of the force who hailed from Rochester. N.Y., and a long line of officers. A corporal at the time of his death, Wallace was posthumously promoted to sergeant by Chief John Millan. His death was witnessed by his mother, a nurse visiting from Florida.
The Anchorage Daily News interviewed Tokuoka's father-in-law George Martin who lives near the address of the shooting and heard the shots. "The regular officer (Wallace) went down first," Martin told the paper. "In fact my daughter and the kids were in the car. Matt wasn't actually on duty yet. The shots rang out you know and they hit Tony. I guess they hit him in the leg first. And then Matt told my to get the kids out of there. He went to help Tony, and I think that's when he got it.
The intense standoff began late Saturday night following the ambush, which mortally wounded both officers. Agencies surrounding Hoonah answered the call for help, including the Alaska State Troopers, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, a U.S. Forest Service Officer, and the Juneau Police Department's Tactical Unit.
The suspect, John Marvin, barricaded himself inside his home. The Alaska State Troopers deployed its Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT), Crisis Negotiation Team and members of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation to assist with ongoing efforts. The U.S. Coast Guard had its Cutter Liberty enforcing a 1,500-yard safety zone to ensure the safety of officers and troopers on scene. The standoff ended after Marvin exited the residence in response to efforts by SERT.
"We are thankful this incident resolved without further loss of life or injury," said Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety Joe Masters in a prepared statement. "Now that this incident has resolved, the community of Hoonah can hopefully start the healing process. We will further be supporting the community by providing grief and stress services to help the people affected cope with the tragedy. Two AST chaplains are already headed to the community to begin those efforts."
"During the course of this incident a generous and overwhelming amount of support for came in from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies," said Director of Alaska State Troopers Col. Audie Holloway. "The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have offered its support and condolences as well."
Hoonah is a Tlingit village of 850 people that was served by three sworn officers. Chief Millan is now the sole member of the town's police force. The nearby city of Wrangell has agreed to loan the town two officers.
Planning for a memorial service for the fallen officers is underway.