HOONAH, Alaska — The heroism and accomplishments of two police officers, one of whom was raised in Hawaii, killed on a southeast Alaska street were recalled by speaker after speaker during a memorial service Wednesday.
Family, friends, dignitaries and law enforcement officers from across the state, nation and Canada filled the Hoonah gym for the service honoring officer Matthew Tokuoka, who was raised on Molokai, and Sgt. Anthony Wallace, who were shot and killed Aug. 28.
Wallace was on patrol, with his mother on a ride-along with him. Tokuoka had just left his father-in-law’s house with his wife and four children when they met on the street.
Wallace was outside his cruiser, visiting with the Tokuokas when he was shot in the leg and back. Tokuoka jumped from his car to aid Wallace when he, too, was shot.
John Marvin Jr. of Hoonah has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings. He was arrested after a prolonged standoff with authorities.
Police Chief John Millan said during the service that Tokuoka, a former Marine, died trying to save his best friend.
“Matt ran directly into a hail of bullets when any other person would run away,” Millan said. “And he did so without a hint of hesitation. He called in his situation report exactly like a Marine would do in combat.
“He began to move Tony to safety when he laid down his life,” Millan said.
Both were remembered as professional policemen who lived for the job.
Tokuoka was working to get all his police certification.
“Matt was a focused man of few words,” Millan said. “Matt truly had the knack for police work.”
Wallace was a former college all-American wrestler who was one of the nation’s few hard-of-hearing officers. He was told repeatedly he couldn’t be deaf and an officer, but he proved skeptics wrong, Millan said.
“Tony was a cop’s cop,” he said.
He also loved helping people, Millan said, citing off-duty activities ranging from serving as a wrestling coach at the high school to playing Scrabble with Hoonah elders. He also liked to hunt, hike, fish and boat.
The Ohio native “loved the outdoors, which made him a perfect fit for rural Alaska,” Millan said. “Most importantly, Tony loved his family and friends.”
Wallace recently reunited with his 12-year-old daughter, Lexis, which Millan said was his goal in life. She attended the service from Ohio but was too emotional to speak.
“Farewell, Sgt. Tony. I will miss you,” Millan said before putting down the microphone and signing a farewell before his friend’s urn.
Gov. Sean Parnell noted the law enforcement presence from across the continent at the service.
“We do appreciate the honor you are bestowing here, and sharing in our grief,” he said.
To the families of the fallen officers, Parnell said: “We are very, very sorry for the loss of both men, and I am so thankful you have been embraced here by this community, by Alaskans and beyond.”