Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Police officer found
justified in shooting
of motorcyclist

By Debra Barayuga

A police officer who fired at a man riding a stolen motorcycle in Mililani on Jan. 14 was justified in using deadly force, the city prosecutor's office has found.

Based on a review of police Internal Affairs reports of the shooting, a statement from motorcyclist Kelly Donnarumma and their own investigation, prosecutors have decided to take no further action against the police officer.

Their investigation showed that the 29-year-old officer had reason to believe that Donnarumma was violent and had little regard for the safety of others.

"Under the circumstances, the officer also had reason to believe he was in imminent danger of being shot by Mr. Donnarumma, therefore necessitating him to fire his weapon in self-defense," said Jim Fulton of the prosecutor's office.

Donnarumma, 34, had ditched the motorcycle, was attempting to hide behind a dirt mound in Mililani Mauka and was reaching for his fanny pack when he was shot in the neck.

The officer had pursued Donnarumma from the Town Center of Mililani, over the H-2 freeway to an undeveloped area of Mililani and had ordered him to come out from behind the dirt mound, police had said.

The officer had been called earlier that night to the Town Center to investigate an attempted robbery. The caller had said someone had demanded money and would return in an hour to collect.

At about 2:30 a.m. the officer was waiting at the center for the alleged robber when a motorcycle drove in. A check of the license plate showed the motorcycle had been stolen.

A search later of the fanny pack Donnarumma wore revealed no gun, but police found drugs, drug paraphernalia and more than $1,000 in cash. It was not determined whether Donnarumma was the one involved in the robbery attempt.

Donnarumma, who has a prior conviction for theft, recovered from the gunshot injury and was later charged with auto theft and three drug offenses. A hearing on his fitness to stand trial is set for July 24.

The police officer, a nine-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department, has since returned to regular duty.

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