Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - News, Features, Opinions...


Alaska Shield/Northern Edge Concludes With Mass Casualty Event
By Dick Kauffman


August 19, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - In a fictitious scenario set in Ketchikan for a large scale Alaska Shield/Northern Edge training exercise, "Charles Smedley" sets off some homemade potassium cyanide bombs at Alaska Marine Highway System headquarters Thursday killing several people and injuring many others. "Smedley" aimed to do in his wife "Martha" and have it blamed on the terrorists who were recently in Ketchikan to poison the salad bar.

Describing the action of the fictitious scenario Thursday, Ketchikan Deputy Police Chief John Maki said "Smedley" runs into problems at Alaska Marine Highway and has to show a gun which results in three gunshot victims.

jpg mass casualties

In a fictitious scenario, mass casualties result from
homemade potassium cyanide bombs...
Photograph by John Maki

"Smedley" leaves the area as the homemade potassium cyanide bombs go off but promptly wrecks his truck near North Tongass and Kelly Drive. Maki said several 911 calls were received prompting police and fire department responses.  "Hearing that sirens are approaching, Smedley runs to the office of C.E. Bradley Company and takes hostages," said Maki.  Officers surround the building, and call for a department hostage negotiator; however, before the negotiator arrives, "Smedley" shoots one hostage (played by CE Bradley employee Shannon Keso) and an approaching officer is shot in the leg.
"This fictitious scenario ends when the person thought to be the other hostage and Smedley are shot as they pull guns and attempt to shoot officers," said Maki.   The second "hostage" was actually "Wanda Schockenberger," Smedley's girlfriend, said Maki.

jpg getaway truck

"Charles Smedley" and "Wanda Schockenberger" - the getaway truck...
Photograph by John Maki

During the chase and hostage situation, the Ketchikan Fire Department , North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department and South Tongass Fire Department were at the scene of the bio-terrorism incident at the Alaska Marine Highway System's building where they discover multiple dead and many casualties.  Patients are decontaminated and some are transported to Ketchikan General Hospital for treatment including the three gunshot victims.

In "This Is Only An Exercise" news release, residents living in Ketchikan, especially south of Ward Cove, were warned to shut their windows and remain indoors and to avoid the area and await further information. "There is no need to panic," said Incident Commander David Hull. "We do not believe that the Tuesday event is connected with what happened today."

jpg hostage

"Smedley" shoots one hostage (played by CE Bradley employee Shannon Keso) and an approaching officer is shot in the leg.
Photograph by John Maki

Ketchikan Deputy Police Chief Maki said, "All officers involved in the training exchanged real guns with training guns that fire marking bullets." He said  the "simunitions" firearms and safety equipment was purchased through drug seizure forfeited funds and the cost of the training exercise was paid for by Alaska Shield/Northern Edge.  
Maki said, "Despite mistakes made in this training, a lot was learned." He said much credit goes to Director of Public Safety Rich Leipert and Assistant Fire Chief Jim Hill who planned and coordinated the exercise.

jpg emergency responders

Emergency responders prepare victims for transfer to Ketchikan General Hospital...
Photograph by John Maki

"The police department is extremely grateful to C. E. Bradley Co who allowed the use of their facility, and to Shannon Keso who played the victim," said Ketchikan Deputy Police Chief John Maki.

Detectives Jon Clouse and Natalie White played the bad guys - "Charles Smedley" and "Wanda Schockenberger" - and responding police officers all played themselves, said Maki.

City of Ketchikan Public Safety Director Rich Leipfert said, "Documenting the strengths and weaknesses of our disaster plan helps us map the course of improving collective readiness."

Leipfert said, "This event is nationally significant since President George W. Bush will be reviewing the results of these exercises to evaluate what additional resources Alaska and other states may require."

The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has provided more than $100,000 to Ketchikan to fund this August training drill and more than $70,000 in other funding to prepare local response personnel said Leipfert.



Related Story:

Fake Anthrax Attack Kicks Off Alaska Shield/Northern Edge Drills


E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska