Hoonah Policemen Killed; Suspect Barricaded Inside Home

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau and Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

The waiting continued in Hoonah, where a 45-year-old man barricaded himself inside his home after allegedly shooting and killing two police officers Saturday night.

Alaska State Troopers said John Marvin Jr. shot and killed 32-year-old Hoonah Police Sergeant Tony Wallace and 39-year-old patrolman Matt Tokuoka shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

The incident is being described as an ambush, witnessed by the officers’ families. Hoonah Mayor Windy Skaflestad said his son Arlen — a reserve officer — was one of the first on the scene.

“He told me the same story, that the families were there: the mother of Tony and the wife and two children of Matt. They were good friends, they were visiting on the street when it happened,” he said.

Skaflestad said Marvin is well-known to Hoonah police. A year ago, he said Marvin attempted to wrestle Officer Wallace’s gun from him.

“He picked on the wrong person when he went after to wrestle Tony, because Tony is a wrestler, a state wrestler champ. But they had quite a bit of bump-ins with him for about a month or two about a year ago. So I think that’s what set all this off,” he said.

Alaska State Troopers Spokeswoman Megan Peters said Marvin is barricaded and contained in his home. Troopers have a Special Emergency Response Team from Anchorage on the scene, which is similar to a SWAT team. In addition, the Juneau Police Department’s SWAT team and other law enforcement personnel from around the region and state are in Hoonah to assist Troopers. Peters said they hope to resolve the situation peacefully. The public was encouraged to stay away from Front Street in Hoonah.

Peters said Marvin was alone in the home, to the best of troopers’ knowledge.

Hoonah is a city of about 800 residents, 40 miles west of Juneau on northern Chichagof Island. Before the shootings, it had two active police officers and a third in training, as well as a police chief.

Interim city administrator Bob Prunella, who has been city manager in Petersburg and Wrangell, said it’s a difficult time for the whole town.

“I’ve been through kind of the same things. I think we all have in these small communities. That’s where it’s really difficult because everybody knows everybody. It’s a hit to a community emotionally, and then take a community like Hoonah. A lot of people are related to each other here,” he said.

He said Wrangell sent two officers to fill in in Hoonah.

It was not clear when law enforcement planned to try to force Marvin out of the house.