Deaf Police Officer Was Killed Along With A Fellow Police Officer
Officer Anthony “Tony” Wallace and Officer Matt Tokouka
Anthony Wallace, a Deaf police officer of the Honnah, located on an island, was mourned last week as news reached Deaf Communities that he was killed along with a fellow police officer Matthew Tokukoa in a tiny Native village in southeast Alaska. They were ambushed and killed by a lone gunman John Marvin Jr. The city administrator doesn’t know what led to the shooting.
Wallace was legally deaf. Wallace had served for the Hoonah Police Department for four years. Many Deaf people knew him as “Tony the Deaf Cop”.
According to a story last year in RIT’s (Rochester Institue of Technology) campus news, Wallace was one of few Deaf police officers in the country.
“I have had tremendous support from my fellow police officers and have gained their confidence by providing every day that a person with my hearing deficiency poses no problems on the job. I have always believed that I could do the job of a police officer and here I am,” he said in the story.
Wallace’s mother was visiting from St. Petersburg, Florida for the first time in Alaska. Debbie Greene was riding on a patrol car along with him and witnessed the shootings. While attacking, mother called for help from her son’s patrol car.
The wife and young children of Officer Tokukoa also witnessed the violence as it began. Tokuoka and his family were in his car. They were chatting with Wallace, who was standing outside the vehicle. The shot rang out, Tokuoka wasn’t actually on duty yet and he got out of car to help injured Tony but he was shot. Both of them were killed.
Tony Wallace attended the National Technical Institue for the Deaf (NTID)/Rochester Institue of Technology (RIT) in New York. He was an All-American wrestler at RIT/NTID from 1998 to 2002. He was just the third member in the history of the program to earn three All-American honors. He was also a member of the RIT Hall of Fame.
Elizabeth Thompson of Fort Collins, Colorado was a Deaf student at NTID/RIT. She knew Tony Wallace as a great and fun guy to hang out with. She has a story to share:
“I personally knew Tony when I met him in 1998. The funny story was, I was freshman at that time, he was a very handsome and all best wrestler. He had that black biggest snake named Payhon (can’t spell right), he knew I had fear for snakes. Know what he did? He threw it on me and oh my! I freaked out big time. He said “ do not freak because that snake can trap me as smell my fear. I was so pissed off.”
On my college year, more I know him, he’s very nice guy and always social w/brilliant people. He was very tight w/Matt Hamill, you know the UFC fighter? I knew Matt from RIT too as well. Tony was “hard of hearing”, 1st I met him, he was more as oral person and social w/lots of people who are oral people. More he picked up more of sign languages.
He then worked as campus Safety at NTID/RIT. When I left, I did not stay in touch then heard that he decided to join Police Acamdecy as remembering that he was highly speaking of his father and uncle were police officers. I was very impressive that he took that path to achieve the goals to prove the doubts and his dreams. As 1st I met him, I rolled my eyes but later I gave him my appluads for all its efforts he made to success to be one of the police officers. Then last week when I heard the right away of the annoucing his death in Alaska. All memories came of 1st time I met him, partied w/him and all those. My 1st thought was how Matt Hamill to react as they were tight and in same group. It came to sadden me and everyone who personally knew him but he was an inspiration for to show that he and few others that can be police officers. He and his name and good memories will never be forgotten. “