HONOLULU (KHON2) — An investigation is underway after two Honolulu Police Department (HPD) officers opened fire at a suspect on Monday night after police said he charged at them while holding a knife.
Interim Chief of Police Rade Vanic said the officers spoke with the suspect for about a minute or two before he rushed at them and they opened fire.
Police are only identifying the suspect as a 48-year-old man with a previous felony conviction for criminal property damage.
Officers said he was threatening a man with a knife when police responded to the intersection of Kona and Kona Iki Streets near Ala Moana Center.
“Initially, as the officers were talking to him for a brief period of time, he had the knife in his right hand down at this side,” Vanic said, “but when he ran towards them, he raised the knife above his head and rushed towards them with the knife in his hand.”
Vanic said the suspect got as near as arms-length from the officers. Police did not have a further description of the knife they said the suspect was holding.
Police only disclosed that the man was shot multiple times, and possibly struck on the arm and torso.
The two officers who opened fire have one and two years of service.
“The officers were wearing body cameras and the footage is being reviewed. Investigators are also recovering surveillance video of the area,” Vanic said.
Police said they are not releasing that bodycam footage at this time. Vanic said the officers did not have time to use less-lethal force.
“A taser was not used in this incident,” Vanic said. “However, there was less lethal that was in the process of being deployed at the time. The incident unfolded so quickly that officers didn’t have an opportunity to deploy their less lethal.”
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) President Robert Cavaco said in a statement:
“To protect themselves and the public, Honolulu police officers are required to make split-second decisions based on the totality of circumstances they confront when responding to armed suspects. Last night our officers responded to a report of a man stabbing another man near the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Upon arriving at the scene, the responding officers were confronted by an armed suspect. The suspect failed to comply with lawful verbal commands and then charged the officers while armed with the knife, forcing the officers to discharge their firearms, striking the suspect. The suspect is currently in custody and thankfully all of our officers involved are unharmed, safe, and went home at the end of their shifts to their families.”
Police said a security guard in the area sustained a minor injury on the leg from a bullet that may have ricocheted from another object. She was treated at the scene.
The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
The Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office is conducting an independent investigation of the incident.