Bodycam footage released from fatal officer-involved shooting on Hawaii Island

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii police released bodycam footage from the officer-involved shooting that occurred on Friday, June 18, on the Big Island.

It does not include footage from the officer that was attacked by the suspect and police said they are investigating why his camera did not capture the incident.

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Friday’s fatal police-involved shooting is the second one on the Big Island during the week of Monday, June 14. Police said the shooting happened when officers responded to a break-in at a vacant home on Kilauea Road around 11:20 a.m. Friday.

The video shows officers searching each room in the house. When they come to one of the bedroom doors, one of the officers can be heard saying, “Something’s holding (beep) back.”

The officer then forced the door open, looked to his right and appeared to be pushed back by something coming from his left. Then the gunshots rang out.

More than a dozen shots can be heard in the video with officers yelling, “Shots fired, shots fired!”

According to police, the 31-year-old man who was killed allegedly lunged at officers with two knives and cut one of the officers on his right arm.

In a statement, the Hawaii Police Department said:
“The footage being made available is considered the most relevant from two of the officers involved depicting the breach of the bedroom door and the firearms being discharged. We did not recover any footage from the injured officer’s BWC and are still investigating the reason this camera did not capture any footage of the incident.”

Criminal defense attorney Victor Bakke said the footage that was released points to a justifiable shooting.

“It appears to be that the officer in this case that was severely injured was surprised and attacked without warning,” Bakke said.

He said police are allowed to use deadly force if it is necessary to protect themselves or others against serious bodily injury or death.

“It also makes a difference of the fact that it was in a home, in a residence,” Bakke explained. “So the police, and even the home owners, are authorized to use reasonable force in a situation to stop a burglary and in this case it appears to be reasonable when the officer appears to have been stabbed.”

Questions remain surrounding the injured officers body camera.

“We don’t know if the bodycam footage exists or it just hasn’t been turned over,” he explained. “And that has been a big problem because in some cases the cameras aren’t being used and we don’t really know why. But it always raises suspicion.”

Bodycam policies differ by county.

Bakke said he thinks a state law should dictate how they are used since they provide crucial evidence in cases. He added that the public should take a step back before jumping to conclusions.

“Obviously there is abuse, but in cases like this where the officer was viciously attacked, in a split second, who are we to second guess what he did to save his life and protect the lives of others?” Bakke asked.

The investigation is ongoing. Police ask anyone with information regarding this incident to call Detective Jeremy Kubojiri of the Area I Criminal Investigations Section at (808) 961-2378.

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