HONOLULU (KHON2) — The father of the man accused of killing a woman outside the Kapolei police station is pushing for changes to help the mentally ill. He’s calling on lawmakers and law enforcers to prevent another tragedy.
Michael Armstrong has been charged with murder in connection with the death of a woman identified as Linda Johnson. Armstrong had just been released after allegedly punching an HPD officer the night before, outside a halfway house in Mililani.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
“He should not have been released,” said Tony Armstrong, Michael’s father. “We would’ve advocated for that from the get-go because we know our son’s progression of his illness has been increasing over time.”
Tony Armstrong says his son has been in and out of the State Hospital for the past 15 years. While he grew up as a normal child on the Big Island, he says Michael was diagnosed with behavioral problems as a teenager.
“So we would have periods where he would be in the hospital for however long, and then they would try to integrate him back into the community,” said Armstrong. “It always failed within a certain length of time.”
He says prosecutors made a critical mistake by releasing Michael and says he should have been sent to the State Hospital the night before, when officers arrested him.
“Those laws, procedures, and policies need to be reevaluated, scrapped, thrown out, rewritten, whatever because this can never happen again,” said Armstrong.
The prosecutor’s office released the following statement about why Michael Armstrong was released.
“We did not want to immediately charge Armstrong with a misdemeanor because he would have gone to court the next day and likely pled guilty which would have foreclosed us from later charging him with felony assault.”
City and County of Honolulu
Armstrong says the whole incident should be a wakeup call for legislators and other policy makers.
“We want justice for Linda’s family. We’re just absolutely gut-punched, heartbroken,” he said.
Check out more news from around Hawaii
Michael Armstrong is in custody. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 28.