• Busy two weeks for law officials, emergency crews
By Naomi Klouda
The woman involved in a shootout with Alaska State Troopers was identified this morning. An arrest warrant was issued for Tonee M. Walker, 58, of Anchor Point, for one count of attempted murder in the first degree, four counts of assault in the third degree and one count of reckless driving. Walker was arrested following her release from the hospital and transported to the jail in Anchorage.
The Alaska Wildlife Trooper involved in the shooting in the Happy
Valley area on July 15, 2012 was Alaska Wildlife Trooper Trent Chwialkowski, Anchor Point post. Trooper Chwialkowski has been a trooper since February 2008.
Alaska State Troopers and local law enforcement had a busy week in a string of unusual tragedies and crimes.
This weekend, a woman reported for erratic driving fired on a wildlife trooper. She was taken from Homer’s South Peninsula Hospital to the Alaska Native Medical Center and was initially not named or charged.
Another unusual incident involved a fishing charter captain who is alleged to have gotten into an altercation out in Cook Inlet with another fishing boat.
Alaska State Troopers on the Kenai Peninsula received multiple REDDI reports (Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately) pertaining to the erratic driving of a yellow SUV Sunday night at about 5:30 p.m.
An Alaska Wildlife Trooper spotted the bright yellow vehicle traveling northbound near Happy Valley along the Sterling Highway about 6:15 p.m. and attempted to make a traffic stop, according to Trooper Spokesperson Megan Peters. The female driver did not immediately stop but continued northbound.
When the vehicle temporarily stopped, the female driver began shooting. The AWT Trooper returned fire.
The vehicle then drove northbound and stopped again at Mile 147 in the middle of the highway. Troopers from Soldotna and Anchor Point responded along with Homer Police Department and members of the South Central SERT team.
After about 30 minutes, the female eventually put her hands outside the vehicle and troopers were able to make contact. The female driver was discovered to have a gunshot wound to her torso and was transported to the hospital in Homer, for treatment.
ABI investigators responded to the scene and are investigating. The trooper involved in the shooting was placed on administrative leave for three days.
The cause and circumstances of the shooting are under investigation. The Sterling Highway at mile 147 was closed to traffic in both directions until approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Trooper Spokesperson Peters updated the report at noon on Monday to say the female suspect was treated at the hospital in Homer then was transferred to the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.
“Troopers have identified her, however, her name and age will not be released as she has not been arrested nor charged with a criminal offense at this time. It is an ongoing investigation,” Peters wrote.
A firearm was located in the woman’s vehicle. Several spent shell casing were also recovered from the vehicle. Witnesses stated the female suspect was firing the pistol while in her vehicle, endangering some of them.
The Trooper’s vehicle appears to have been struck by at least one round fired from the female suspect.
It is believed the gunshot to the suspect was from the trooper who returned fire at the suspect.
Anchor Point Wildlife Troopers received a report of an altercation between boaters about four miles southeast of East Chugach Island in the Lower Cook Inlet. Investigation revealed that on Friday morning, a charter boat operated by Steven Button, age 55, of Palmer was fishing near a private fishing vessel about four miles southeast of East Chugach Island in the Lower Cook Inlet.
According to the trooper report, Button became upset that the other vessel was fishing near him and intentionally piloted his boat directly toward the private boat in a manner that made the three occupants think that Button was going to collide with them.
“Button abruptly changed direction prior to collision (less than 10 feet from the private boat), creating a large wake which travelled over the transom and gunwale of the boat, putting the private boat at a risk of swamping or suffering damage and nearly throwing one of the occupants overboard,” said Trooper David Chaffin.
“This situation placed all three occupants of the private boat in fear of imminent serious physical injury due to the risk of collision or significant damage to their boat.”
Later on Friday, troopers contacted Button at the Homer Harbor. He was placed under arrest and remanded at the Homer jail without bail. He has been charged with three counts of assault in the third degree, one count of reckless endangerment, and one count of prohibited operation of a watercraft.
Button is a fishing guide who reportedly works out of Homer through his business, Crystal Sea Charters, aboard the Donna Mae.
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