Saturday, December 4, 2004


Daniel Vesper III was transferred last night to Honolulu police headquarters on Beretania Street from the Queen's Medical Center. He is suspected in Thursday's hit-and-run of police officer Jeffrey Omai, who is hospitalized in guarded condition.


Several children in Kalihi help
police find a fugitive wanted for
hitting an undercover officer
with a van

A manhunt for a 43-year-old fugitive suspected of ramming a van into an undercover police officer Thursday ended in Kalihi last night after some neighborhood youngsters pointed out where he was hiding.

Police captured Daniel Vesper III shortly after 6 p.m. hiding behind a two-story apartment building at 738 Umi St. after he was spotted riding a bicycle near King and Umi streets.

"He put up a fierce struggle," said Sgt. Michael Clark, of the Kalihi district, adding that he was punching and kicking and claiming he was being abused. "He does not want to go easily."

Children in the neighborhood said they were playing on the side of Umi Street when they saw a man speeding on a bicycle. "We saw this guy coming down fast with a yellow and orange bike," said Iniki Lafoga, 12. "He hopped over the fence."

Lafoga said Vesper then ran toward the end of the street and back toward the other side of the street, then jumped a fence and ran behind an apartment building on the other side of the street and jumped a wall.

Police arrived and "asked us if we saw a man on a bike," said Diena Peterson, 10. They pointed behind the apartment building, where he was caught hiding next to a washing machine.

"They carried him sideways and handcuffed him," said Jarome Faamata.

"We threw rocks at him (after he was arrested)," Peterson said.

Clark estimated that about 100 officers were involved in the manhunt throughout the day, including Crime Reduction Unit and Specialized Services Division officers.

Police arrested Vesper on a criminal property damage warrant. He is wanted for the first-degree attempted murder of officer Jeffrey Omai, who was seriously injured when Vesper allegedly ran over him at the Honolulu Community College parking lot. Omai was part of a Crime Reduction Unit team that spotted Vesper.

Occupants of a Meyers Street home in Kalihi were guided outside by an armed policeman yesterday afternoon before the home was searched for suspect Daniel Vesper III. Vesper was not found then, but was captured hours later.

Police said Vesper is also suspected of ramming a gate and a parked vehicle while attempting to flee a Robello Lane parking lot on Nov. 20. He is also a suspect in a Nov. 9 traffic stop that ended with Vesper allegedly hitting another officer's foot with an allegedly stolen car. Police said he also was allegedly involved in an armed robbery on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus Thursday morning.

Clark said some force had to be used in the arrest, but Vesper received only a few scrapes and bruises.

He was taken to the Queen's Medical Center for treatment. When he was later brought to the main police station cellblock, he was shirtless and did not appear to have visible injuries.

"He's pretty wily and he's eluded us before," Clark said.

Clark said police received numerous anonymous tips since Thursday night.

Vesper has eight convictions for auto theft, terroristic threatening, refusing an order to stop and reckless driving.

Police concentrated their search mauka of Fort Shafter earlier yesterday after they received a tip.

Vesper was spotted in a white van with another man but got out before police stopped the van. The driver told police he did not know Vesper was wanted by police.

A small squad of heavily armed Honolulu police officers searched house after house along Meyers Street in Kalihi looking for Vesper.

"The first thing I saw was the shield and gun," said Adam Siangco, who along with laborer Craig Curry was helping to renovate a home located at 1434 Meyers St. "I was eating lunch. ... They told me to get on the ground."

Curry said police came into the house "with their guns all pulled out" and told him to come out of the house.

"They just went though the house and looked and made sure nobody was in there, and that was it," Curry said. "They're just doing their jobs.

"I blame the idiot who said that the guy (Vesper) got dropped off right on our corner. ... That's why they searched the house."

However, after about two hours the only person officers arrested was a homeless man who was living in a vacant house along Meyers.

By midafternoon police had discontinued their search in the area.

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