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Former Hawaii man killed along with fellow officer in Alaska ambush

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  • AP Photo/Hoonah Police Deparment
    This photo provided by the Hoonah Police Dept. in Alaska shows officer Matt Tokuoka

ANCHORAGE, Alaska  — A former Hawaii man and another police officer in a tiny Alaskan village were killed in an ambush late Saturday, officials said.

A SWAT team and dozens of other law officers surrounded a house in a tiny Alaskan village where a gunman took refuge after he allegedly killed Hoonah police officers Tony Wallace and Matt Tokuoka, a Hawaii native who had been with the department since last year, authorities said.

"We believe they were ambushed by the individual," Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

John Marvin Jr., 45, barricaded himself in his home and Alaska State Troopers and other law enforcement agencies were at the scene Sunday and would maintain their positions through the night, authorities said.

Purnella said he didn’t know what led to the shooting. Police officials said they were investigating motives but have not released any details.

There was no sign of a quick end to the standoff, Prunella said Sunday evening. It was unclear how long Marvin had been inside the home.

"This could go on for a while," Prunella said.

Peters said police are doing what they could to resolve the standoff peacefully.

"We don’t want to have another tragedy on our hands," she said. "We don’t want to lose another officer."

Troopers were urging residents in the shoreline community of about 800 to stay away from the area. Hoonah is situated on an island about 40 miles west of Juneau, the capital.

Tokuoka left the home of his father-in-law, George Martin, just before the shooting. The 39-year-old officer was off-duty and had spent the evening there before leaving with his wife and two children, Martin said.

Soon after they left, Martin heard two shots. Wallace was knocked down, and Tokuoka told his wife and children to get away and then he was shot as well, Martin said.

"I imagine he was trying to administer help to this other officer when he got hit," Martin said.

Wallace was on-duty at the time of the shooting. It was unclear why he was in the area.

According to the law enforcement networking website, Tokuoka was a former Marine Corps staff sergeant who served in special operations. The Hawaii native had been with the department since spring 2009.

Wallace, 32, died during surgery in Juneau and Tokuoka died early Sunday at a clinic in the Native village, according to Martin.

"The whole town’s in shock," he said. "I’ve been getting calls all day. It’s a bad situation."

Martin said his home is just a block and a half from Marvin’s. He didn’t know why the officers were ambushed but said police have had run-ins with Marvin in the past. He said Marvin lives alone.

Alaska State Troopers were leading a multi-agency response, and Peters said a warrant was issued for Marvin’s arrest. The Coast Guard transported the Juneau Police Department’s SWAT team to the village, Peters said.

Prunella said the deaths leave the Tlingit community with just two full-time officers — the police chief and a trainee. He said the southeast Alaska town of Wrangell sent some officers to help out as needed.

Wallace was originally from Ohio and one of the few hard-of-hearing officers in the nation, according to officials at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York, where he attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. He also was a wrestler and was inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

He first joined the Hoonah police force in 2006, left after seven months and then rejoined in 2008. He served as the small department’s evidence officer, and was recently designated as a breath-test maintenance technician.

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