2 fatal police-involved shootings on Big Island this week; Hawaii mayor says it’s ‘Unfortunate’

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A man is dead after a police-involved shooting in Hilo on Friday, June 18.

It happened at 11:20 a.m. at a home on Kilauea Road.

Police said officers opened fire after the suspect attacked one of the officers with a knife, cutting the officer on the arm. The suspect was determined to be a 31-year-old man and police said his identity will be withheld until next of kin are notified.

According to the Hawaii County Police Department, officers were responding to a break-in at a vacant home when a man who was hiding in one of the bedrooms allegedly lunged at police with two knives and cut one of the officers on the arm.

Police said officers had entered the home and cleared it room-by-room after announcing their presence. The officers came across a locked bedroom door and breached it after completing an exterior check of the home, Hawaii police said.

The suspect immediately attacked one of the officers with a large knife once the door was breached, according to police. Authorities said the 31-year-old suspect possessed two knives at the time of the attack.

Police said that is when they opened fire on the suspect. The injured officer, a 12 year veteran of Hawaii police, was taken to Hilo Medical Center in stable condition and has been placed on administrative leave.

Authorities recovered video from two body-worn cameras from responding officers and say the footage will be released once it has been reviewed. Three officers in total responded to the reported break-in, Hawaii police said the injured officer’s body-worn camera did not capture footage of the incident. Officials are investigating to determine why the injured officer’s camera did not function properly.

This is the second officer-involved shooting on Hawaii island in less than a week. Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth it is unfortunate that this has to happen.

“Our heart goes out to the family of those who are deceased and of course to the officers, who what I’ve seen in both of these cases, they’re acting in self-defense,” Roth said.

In a statement, SHOPO president Malcolm Lutu said:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to our officers in Hawaii County. It’s another example of the dangers we face daily protecting our communities.”

On Sunday, June 13, police shot and killed 34-year-old Ryan Santos after they say he opened fire as they responded to a domestic violence call.

According to Hawaii County Police Chief Paul Ferreira, Santos emerged from the kitchen Sunday with a rifle in hand and aimed it at the officers, who immediately retreated and sought cover.

Ferreira said Santos fired at officers, went back into the house and came out onto the front balcony and shot at police again.

One of the officers fired four or five rounds, hitting Santos once.

The investigation revealed Santos discharged at least 30 rounds at police.

“We know that our officers throughout the country are going through a difficult time,” Roth said. “What we’ve seen from our officers here has been that they have been acting in a very professional manner and trying to save peoples lives, and unfortunately they’ve been put in these situations where they had to do something that really no officer wants to do.”

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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