A man suspected of taking a police officer’s vehicle after spending the night hiding out in Windward Oahu has been charged.
Jaya Titcomb, 38, was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer in the first degree, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, terroristic threatening in the first degree, and resisting order to stop.
His bail was set at $500,000.
According to police, Titcomb took a police officer’s vehicle on Monday and tried to ram the officer. The officer fired at Titcomb, but he was able to get away and abandoned the vehicle in Waiahole.
Police arrested Titcomb at around 10 a.m. Tuesday near the Waiahole Poi Factory. They believe he had spent the night near a taro field before he was spotted by a resident.
“Because of the thick bushes in that area and it’s wet, the dogs were not able to pick up the track because of the water, and also, the thick bushes also concealed him,” said Honolulu Chief of Police Susan Ballard.
It’s a relief for residents who were worried that someone willing to steal a police car is capable of a crime even worse.
“I was kind of panicked. It’s frightening. This is a safe neighborhood and I just panicked. I barred the doors. I didn’t go outside, I was afraid to go outside,” said Waiahole resident Kathy Oshiro.
Police say Titcomb was in custody when officers responded to a call in Kaimuki, but officers allowed him to use the bathroom. Police say that’s when Titcomb jumped into the officer’s SUV and took off.
Titcomb was later involved in a crash on Beretania Street. After that, the vehicle was abandoned in Waiahole.
Ballard calls the incident a wake-up call for police officers.
“No good deed goes unpunished sometimes, but it’s also a wake-up call for all the officers to make sure they never become complacent, because this island is not the way it used to be. Things are changing and we have to change with them,” said Ballard.
Titcomb was injured from gunshots fired by the officer. He was taken to the hospital with injuries to his arm and shoulder. He was arrested for attempted murder, theft, and car theft. He has not been charged.
The officer was taken to the hospital Monday with minor injuries and has been released.
He is a 24-year veteran and has been placed on three days leave, which is standard operating procedure.