HONOLULU (KHON2) — The preliminary hearing for three Honolulu police officers charged in the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Iremamber Sykap resumed on Tuesday.
District Court Judge William Domingo began hearing testimony last month from witnesses about the April 5 shooting that killed Sykap. Prosecutors showed bodycam footage of officers firing at the stolen white Honda as it came to a stop before driving off into a canal.
Police said Sykap was driving a stolen car that was linked to a crime spree before he drove it into the Kalakaua Stream on April 5. The others in the car ranged in age from 14 to 22.
According to prosecutors, the car had already stopped and did not present any danger to the officers when they fired. However, defense attorneys said officers who responded believed that the suspects in the vehicle were dangerous and could have been armed. The Honda also crashed into a police car before the shooting.
On Tuesday, defense attorneys showed new surveillance video in court from a nearby apartment building that captured the shooting. They said it shows that the car was moving, thus posing a danger to officers.
Previous testimony revealed that there were two gun replicas at the scene, as well as two magazines — one of them had six bullets. Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter pointed out that there were no real guns found, however, defense attorneys said at the time of the shooting, there was no way for police officers to know if the guns were real. Click here for that testimony.
Officer Thom is charged with one count of second-degree murder after prosecutors said he fired 10 rounds at Sykap through the rear window of the car. According to prosecutors, eight of the 10 shots he fired hit the teen in the back of the head, neck, back and left arm. The bullet that hit Sykap in the back of his head fractured his skull and entered his brain.
The five-year police department veteran fired the shots “without provocation” after the car came to a stop at an intersection, according to court documents. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 20 years because of the kind of gun used in the shooting, which was a 9 mm Glock semi-automatic firearm.
The two other officers, Zackary Ah Nee and Christopher Fredeluces, who also opened fire, are charged with second-degree attempted murder. Prosecutors filed the charges after a grand jury declined to indict the three officers.
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In May, Skyap’s family filed a lawsuit against the City and police alleging that officers had been harassing and threatening family members. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief.
The preliminary hearing for the three officers continues Wednesday.