Ketchikan police arrest man threatening to shoot pedestrians

After receiving a phone call from a man threatening to shoot a pedestrian, Ketchikan police closed off a section of Schoenbar Road and evacuated the Recreation Center early yesterday morning while trying to negotiate the man’s surrender. Deputy Chief of Police Josh Dossett says no one was injured during the Tuesday morning incident. He says 30-year-old Mathew Martinez called police at approximately 4 a.m. with the threat. Dosset describes what happened in front of the Schoenbar Road home.

“Officers responded to the area where we thought he was. We were able to see the male outside his residence. At the time he didn’t have a firearm. He was arguing with another male. Plain-clothes officers tried to approach him. He ran back in the residence. Officers backed away. He then came in and out of the residence a couple of times with firearms. We blocked off Schoenbar above and below the residence. We evacuated people from both the Recreation Center and those at the TSAS (Tongass School of Arts and Sciences) and Ketchikan Charter School, possibly. At that point, he finally came out the residence with his wife. He did not have a weapon. One of my sergeants who’s a negotiator made contact with him with a cover team. He began talking to him for several minutes. Was able to approach the subject, get close enough that he could get ahold of him, at which time the cover team also contacted him. He was taken into custody without an incident, uninjured. Officers served a search warrant on the residents and recovered four firearms – four rifles.”

Dossett says during the phone call, Martinez told police he would shoot anyone who walked by the house, and when police responded, he would return fire.

“Technically it’s called ‘suicide by cop.’ Force us to shoot him and kill him,” Dossett says.

Dossett says Martinez appeared overwhelmed by things happening in his life. Though uninjured, Martinez was taken to the hospital for evaluation and then transported to the Ketchikan Correctional Center.

Martinez is being charged with 3rd degree assault, making terroristic threats, weapons misconduct, and violations of conditions of release. He was scheduled for arraignment this afternoon in the Ketchikan District Court, but did not appear. Assistant District Attorney Joe Kovac says he does not have details on why Martinez did not appear, and believed the arraignment would be rescheduled for tomorrow.

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