Hoonah suspect surrenders after standoff

Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The suspect in the deaths of two Hoonah police officers is in custody in Juneau, awaiting arraignment today, after ending a standoff with law enforcement Monday morning.

According to a press release by the Alaska State Troopers, John Nick Marvin Jr. was taken into custody outside his residence on Front Street shortly after 9:30 a.m.

Marvin, 45, is believed to be responsible for the shooting deaths of Hoonah Sergeant Anthony Wallace, 32, and Officer Matthew Tokuoka, 39, of the Hoonah Police Department. He is charged with two counts of murder in the first degree and is the sole defendant in this case, according to the release.

The standoff began Saturday night after the officers were ambushed and ultimately succumbed to their injuries. After the attack, Marvin barricaded himself inside the house, according to the release.

The release stated the state troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Juneau Police Department and a Forest Service officer responded to the incident. The Alaska State Troopers' Special Emergency Reaction Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, and members of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation assisted.

Megan Peters, public information officer for the Alaska State Troopers, said they got the initial call around 11 p.m. Saturday, which is about when the barricade began.

According to the release, the standoff ended when Marvin exited his home Monday morning. A witness to this, Harry Sharclane, said he saw officers fire what he believed to be tear gas canisters into the home.

"Shortly after, he came out with his hands in the air, then they put him on the ground and cuffed him," Sharclane said.

Sharclane said he was about half a block away when he saw this. He also said he witnessed Marvin leave the house around 9:30 a.m. Sunday before immediately retreating back inside.

After the arrest, Marvin was transported to Juneau and is being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center without bail until his arraignment, said Scott Wellard, superintendent of the Juneau prison.

"He will definitely be arraigned on Tuesday," Wellard said.

"Now that this incident has resolved, the community of Hoonah can hopefully start the healing process," Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety Joe Masters stated in the press release. "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."

Sharclane said this counseling will surely be needed.

"It's very unfortunate this sort of thing happened in this small community," he said. "I realize this goes on all over the world and the impact isn't as strong but here, everyone knows each other so we're all affected. In a small community there are people related to both sides of this incident."

The incident is being investigated by state troopers.

"I feel that was a very heroic effort," Sharclane said of the two officers' actions he said helped protect the community but ultimately cost them their lives.

This was not the two slain officers' first encounter with Marvin. Court records reveal that they both responded to an incident on August 14, 2009 when Marvin allegedly entered a neighbor's home without permission. According to the record, when Wallace and Tokuoka responded after receiving the call, he attacked them outside his home and caused physical injury to both of them.

Marvin was charged with criminal trespass in the first degree, two counts of assault in the fourth degree and resisting arrest.

Wellard said Marvin was in Lemon Creek from August through December, 2009, when the charges were ultimately dismissed.

According to the press release, a 1,500-yard safety zone was set up to ensure safety around the scene. Hoonah mayor, Alf "Windy" Skaflestad, said the city was working on getting Front Street, Second Street, Roosevelt Street and Hill Street fully cleared and usable again as soon as possible.

According to a woman who answered the telephone at the Hoonah Police Department, at least Front Street was still not fully drivable and the downtown docks were still off limits as of Monday evening.

Erica Sjoroos, director of flight control for Wings of Alaska, said the Hoonah airport was not affected by the incident.

• Contact Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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