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Woman charged with trying to kill Trooper in Sterling Hwy standoff

Jill Burke

A 53-year-old woman from Anchor Point, a small community on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula at the shore of Cook Inlet as it nears Kachemak Bay, has been charged with attempted murder for a traffic stop that ended with a shootout. Tonee M. Walker -- who bears the same name as the recently apprehended "buxom bandit" of Australia, a generously chested woman caught on tape in a robbery -- was injured when the trooper fired back, and now, after being treated for her wounds, faces a half dozen felony charges.

According to court records filed in the case Thursday, Walker loaded up her yellow Nissan SUV with beer, a loaded .44-caliber handgun, and hit the road. Her erratic driving caused several people to call 9-1-1 and report her as a dangerous driver. She rear-ended one car, then did a u-turn on the Sterling Highway, and, heading the wrong direction, forced several cars to pull as far off to the side of the road as they could to avoid her. She also shot at the cars she whizzed past, and then at the trooper vehicle that ultimately showed up and stopped her.

Walker reportedly shot twice after Alaska Wildlife Trooper Trent Chwialkowski stopped her vehicle. One bullet hit her own car, and another one hit the trooper's vehicle on the front end near the driver's side. Chwialkowski bailed out and returned fire, hitting Walker in the arm and torso.

Inside the car, from which the loaded gun dropped out and fell to the ground, troopers found cans and a case of beer and said Walker smelled strongly of alcohol. They also found a note written by Walker in which she said she wanted to "go out in a blaze."

During an interview with investigators on Tuesday at an Anchorage hospital, Walker said she had recently lost numerous family members, was depressed, and planned to either kill herself or have troopers do it for her. She said she had no memory of firing at Chwialkowski.

Walker is charged with six felonies -- attempted murder, for shooting at Chwialkowski; four counts of assault for the danger she placed Chwialkowski and other drivers in; and reckless driving.

A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Contact Jill Burke at jill(at)alaskadispatch.com