Suspected killer dead on Hawaii island, officer injured in shootout

Local News

Hawaii Island police will return to the scene on Highway 11 in Mountain View on Tuesday to continue the investigation into the fatal shooting of police officer Bronson Kaliloa. 

Police will close Highway 11 in Mountain View between Kukui Camp Road and North Kulani Road starting at noon.

Roads should be reopened around 1:30 p.m. 

After a days-long manhunt, fugitive Justin Waiki has been killed on Hawaii island.

At about 2:45 p.m. Friday, Hawaii Police Department officers established a checkpoint where officers stopped an SUV.

Members of the department’s Special Response Team (SRT) were conducting checks within the vehicle when Waiki opened fire, wounding an officer. Officers returned fire, killing Waiki.

“The SRT sergeant, he actually checked the very back lid area of those 4Runners. You know how on those 4Runners, the lid lifts up in the back there, checked that area in there and lifted it up. Justin Waiki was in the very back, and he had concealed himself underneath the blanket so the officer did not see him,” said Maj. Robert Wagner, Hawaii Police Department. “There was an exchange of fire there and Waiki, as a result of the exchange of fire, Waiki was killed.”

The wounded officer, SRT Sgt. Bryan Tina, is a police veteran with 12 years of service. He was taken by fire rescue to Hilo Medical Center in stable condition.

During the shootout, police say a woman who was hiding in the SUV was hit. She was also taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

Three other individuals, who police suspect were helping Waiki, were arrested at the scene for hindering prosecution in the first degree.

“The vehicle itself had a male driver. Later on, we found out there were three female passengers and another male passenger of Justin Waiki,” Wagner said.

The Hawaii Police Department issued an alert urging the public to avoid the area of South Point and Kamaoa roads in Kau.

An island-wide manhunt was launched after the 33-year-old allegedly shot and killed Hawaii island officer Bronson Kaliloa on Highway 11 in Mountain View Tuesday night.

Officers immediately returned fire, but Waiki was able to get away into the bushes on foot.

The Kaliloa family released a statement following Waiki’s death:

“The family would like to thank all the responders who have put their lives at risk to help bring us closure. Our love and thoughts go to the injured officer and his family and we will pray that the Lord protect and heal him.”

Hawaii County police said two people were arrested Friday following increased police activity in Honaunau. However, it is unknown at this time if the arrests were connected to the fugitive.

In a public address, courtesy of Na Leo TV, Hawaii Police Department Chief Paul Ferreira said:

“We at the Hawaii Police Department want to express our thanks for the thoughts and prayers along with your hopes that we have been able to bring this nightmare to an end. … Once again, the men and women of the Hawaii island police department rose to the occasion in keeping our community safe. You can sleep well tonight knowing that the search is over for this individual who had taken the life of Officer Bronson Kaliloa.”

“We’re definitely relieved that the suspect was apprehended, and that threat, not just to the police, but to members of the community as well, that that part is over,” Wagner said. “We did expend a lot of manpower daily regarding just the apprehending of this individual, trying to apprehend this individual. We used all the resources that we had, so it was really, really good for it to come to an end.”

Waiki had faced a first-degree murder charge for Kaliloa’s death, and had an extensive criminal history.

In 2013, Waiki was found with drugs and a loaded firearm in his car, court records note. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail with four years probation.

In 2016, he violated probation and police issued a warrant for his arrest.

The reward for information leading to his capture reached $32,000, with contributions from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Hawaii island Crime Stoppers.

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