Honolulu police confirms a man has died following an officer-involved shooting in Kalihi early Thursday morning.
Around 12:04 a.m. officers responded to a theft complaint at the Hele gas station convenience store on Dillingham Boulevard.
A witness identified a man who matched the suspect’s description in the parking lot of Dillingham Plaza.
Police found him holding a bottle of alcohol and a hunting knife with a seven-inch blade.
“The officers gave multiple commands to drop the weapon, but the suspect instead raised the knife and moved toward the officers,” said Honolulu Chief of Police Susan Ballard. “One of the officers deployed his Taser, but it was ineffective, and two other officers discharged their firearms. Multiple shots were fired and the suspect was struck several times in the torso and in the right leg.”
Ballard says approximately 10 to 11 shots were fired.
“All I heard was a lot of voices, like ‘Hey, hey hey hey!’ These guys trying to get the guy to stop or whatever, and then, pah, pah, pah! That’s it,” said witness Neal Blau. “At first I thought it was fire crackers, you know? Until I seen the guy over there, like down on the ground, because he was hurt. I didn’t know he got shot.”
First aid was given to the suspect on scene. He was taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition, where he later died. No one else was hurt.
Ballard says the identity of the man who died is still pending an autopsy with the medical examiner. She stressed this is still an active investigation, and there are still several witnesses that need to be interviewed.
The responding officers are assigned to District 5 in Kalihi. The officer who deployed the electric gun has 19 years of service, and the two officers who discharged their firearms have 23 and 10 years of service.
The two officers who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Workers at Foodland Dillingham spent much of Thursday cleaning up, after recovering a bullet that was wedged in the door.
Par Hawaii, which owns the gas station, issued the following statement:
“Just before midnight, a male entered the convenience store at the Hele gas station on Dillingham Boulevard and left with two cans of beer without paying. Per our policy, our customer sales associate contacted the police to report the incident. The employee was not harmed, and Par Hawaii is cooperating fully with the Honolulu Police Department, including turning over any evidence to help in their investigation.”
Ballard says there have been 10 officer-involved shootings so far this year. Five were fatal.
It’s troubling statistic for the chief.
“For the officers out there, they are doing everything they can. They don’t want to use lethal force, but unfortunately, the trend is just very disturbing out there,” Ballard said. “The fact that these things are happening, that people are pointing weapons, that they’re actively trying to use knives against the officer, but the officers are doing what they can. They tried to get this gentleman to drop his knife. They’re (the suspect’s) not listening, and so they can’t wait until they make an overt act, because then it’s going to be too late, and the officer’s life could be taken.”
According to Ballard, the stun gun used had a camera attached to it.
We asked if the footage would be released to the public. She says she plans to, as long as it doesn’t harm the investigation.