Man arrested after threatening to shoot schoolchildren

Drunken man charged with second-degree terroristic threatening

Posted: Friday, February 09, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A drunken man who threatened to shoot students and teachers at the Scammon Bay school this week has been arrested by Alaska State Troopers.

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More than 200 students remained in the school Tuesday after Steven Walker Sr., 40, announced over village radios that he would shoot anyone leaving the school from his home, Alaska State Troopers said.

Walker, who has a history of assaults and disorderly conduct when drunk, was charged with second-degree terroristic threatening, a felony, and misdemeanor assault.

Anyone leaving the school must pass Walker's house and he could have shot people through his window, said Trooper Teague Widmier of Bethel.

Scammon Bay is a Yup'ik village of 500 in Western Alaska. Walker did not act on his threats, but residents were rattled.

"It was scary,'' said Karli Uttereyuk, 20, whose brothers and sisters attend the all-grades school.

She was baking bread at home shortly before classes ended when she heard a mumbling Walker angrily say he would shoot anyone passing his home.

He also called the people of Scammon Bay "disrespectful,'' she said, and made other statements in Yup'ik that she couldn't understand.

Residents who heard the statements called the school, urging staff to keep children inside, Widmier said.

A total of 203 students and 21 school employees remained in the building for several hours beginning about 3:45 p.m., he said.

City manager James Akerelrea said he passed Walker's house on snowmachine, not knowing about the threat, to pick up his 6-year-old daughter.

"I told her not to worry because I'm there,'' he said. "I comforted her and told her that everything would be OK and taken care of.''

Students in his daughter's class colored and did other work. Shades were drawn on the windows, he said.

The school followed proper procedures, said Dennis Gerke, assistant superintendent for the Lower Yukon School District in Mountain Village.

"We felt the situation was handled correctly, and the bottom line is all the kids are safe and no one was hurt,'' he said.

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