Michael Perez would have turned 38 on October 18th.
Instead, his family is trying to make sense of the day Perez lost his life.
“We are struggling with the ‘why,’ and the ‘what.’ We really are trying to find out the events that led up to Mikey’s passing,” said his brother-in-law Adam Harris.
On September 27, Honolulu police officers responded to a theft complaint at the Hele gas station in Kalihi for a man who stole alcohol.
Officers fatally shot Michael Perez in the parking lot fronting the Foodland on Dillingham. Police says Perez allegedly threatened officers with a knife.
Deputy chief John McCarthy says officers opened fire because the taser was not effective.
The Honolulu Police Department released video from a taser stun gun one of the officers was holding. But police say the camera is mistakenly covered by the officers hand, or possibly blocked by a police car. The camera is located at the bottom of the stun gun.
Perez’s brother in law says the video does not show much. Much of the video is dark, with only sounds of police officers warning Perez before a flurry of gunshots can be heard.
“(I feel) Anger. You know? I mean that not in a bad way. It doesn’t answer any questions, if it doesn’t show anything. The other part of that is – why do we have this technology if it doesn’t work? It doesn’t make sense,” said Harris.
McCarthy says he will look to see if officers need to be retrained.
“But they do go through training. They’re trained not to hold the camera. But in stressful situations, human nature takes over and you do what you have to do. You’re not concerned about camera, but concerned about addressing the threat at hand,” said McCarthy.
According to his family, Perez worked as a certified diver. Originally from Santa Maria, California, Perez recently moved to Hawaii.
“He moved to Hawaii to live his dream. Ever since he was young he would talk about going. He loved the ocean,” said his sister, Ruby Martinez, who lives on the mainland.
Perez is survived by his 2-year-old son, Koa.