Honolulu Star-Bulletin Local News

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
A Honolulu police SWAT member checks his aim as police work
to end a standoff with George Parker III in downtown Honolulu today.

Distraught attorney unharmed

By Debra Barayuga and Linda Hosek
Photos by Ken Sakamoto

A former assistant prosecutor,
believed to be armed, is subdued
after an eight-hour standoff

Police fired foam and wooden bullets to capture a fugitive attorney who charged at officers from an alley where he had barricaded himself for more than eight hours today.

George Parker III was uninjured except for a cut lip suffered when the third round - the wooden bullet - knocked him to the ground, said Capt. Kenneth Barker, head of the Specialized Services Division.

"He's wide awake and talking. He's responsive," Barker said.

Parker was taken by ambulance to the Queen's Hospital emergency room.

George Parker III

Barker said police fired the shots at 11:27 a.m. as Parker suddenly emerged from the recessed doorway in the alley behind 1100 Alakea St. and bolted toward police officers on Adams Lane. Parker had his hands together at his chest, as if he were carrying something, police said.

Police said they first told Parker to lie down, but he refused.

Barker said the first two foam shots, which are meant to immobilize, had no effect on Parker.

Police, who believed Parker had a handgun, searched the alley after the siege ended at 11:41 a.m. but found no weapon.

Police found a cellular phone in Parker's jacket.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra yesterday issued a bench warrant for Parker, a former city deputy prosecutor, who failed to show up for a court proceeding about an hour after his conviction.

He faces up to 35 years in prison for conspiring to obstruct justice by tampering with a witness, attempting to obstruct justice and laundering money.

The police Specialized Services Division and hostage negotiators were called to the alley behind 1100 Alakea St. at 3:23 a.m. today after a security officer patroling the outside of the building spotted a suspicious man in the area, said Lt. Ronald Yuen.

Shortly before 7 a.m., officers atop the GTE Hawaiian Tel building lowered a phone to Parker in an attempt to make contact with him.

By mid-morning, Parker had used the telephone to talk with police off and on. Police played him taped messages from two family members. "He's responded favorably to those messages," Barker said.

A police negotiator works from
an overlooking rooftop to
convince George Parker III to
end the standoff peacefully.

Yuen said Parker was wearing the same clothes he wore when he left Federal Court after his conviction yesterday afternoon. Parker was seen walking toward downtown on Halekauwila Street. His wife reportedly was waiting for him near their car in another area.

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, who played basketball with Parker, described him as "a very handsome guy, very articulate, cheerful, outgoing."

"I hope everything turns out OK," Carlisle said.

Parker's conviction stems from a 1994 incident in which jurors found that he accepted $20,000 to persuade a witness to not cooperate with the government in a drug case.

"I'm very disappointed, I'm surprised and I will appeal," Parker said after the verdict about 2:30 p.m., but before what was to be the next proceeding.

Jurors were to hear arguments from the defense and prosecution over whether Parker, 35, should forfeit the $20,000 to the government.

Ezra sent the jury home about 4 p.m. and rescheduled forfeiture arguments for 9:15 a.m. today. Jurors deliberated three days to reach the verdict in the one-month trial.

U.S. Attorney Steve Alm declined comment on the case until the jurors complete deliberations.

During the trial, federal prosecutors argued that Parker received $20,000 from William Batkin, a then-uncharged suspect, to persuade Frank Moon, in prison for drug trafficking charges, to not implicate Batkin.

Parker's indictment alleged that he visited Moon six times at the Halawa High Security Facility in 1994 and urged Moon to not cooperate on each occasion.

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Parker is carried out on a stretcher after being shot with
foam and wooden bullets at the end of an eight-hour standoff
with police in downtown Honolulu.

Both Moon, a drug kingpin, and Batkin, who supplied Moon with cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, pleaded guilty. Moon's plea agreement required that he cooperate with the government.

Prosecutors argued that Parker spent most of the $20,000 on a trip to Paris.

Ezra said yesterday he was concerned Parker was distraught and didn't want him to do anything foolish.

Parker was free on a $100,000 signature bond, which was opposed by prosecutors, who feared he might flee.

The state Supreme Court in April suspended Parker's license to practice law because he failed to cooperate an an Office of Disciplinary Counsel investigation in an unrelated matter.

Drama inconveniences
thousands of workers

By June Watanabe and Gregg K. Kakesako

Kelvin Yamamoto had no problem driving in to work this morning, parking his car as usual at Blaisdell Center, then walking to work at Bishop Square.

But he hit a roadblock once reaching Bishop Street, which was cordoned off to traffic, as police played a waiting game with a distraught attorney, believed to be armed with a gun in a nearby alleyway.

Yamamoto, who operates City Opticians with his parents, was one of thousands of downtown workers and visitors inconvenienced by the standoff, which began shortly before 3:30 a.m.

The mood on the streets was calm and curious, as dozens of police officers, members of the news media and curious pockets of people milled around.

Among those affected was District Court, where only employees carrying identification cards were allowed to bypass yellow tapes that kept unauthorized people out. The court canceled morning proceedings, but resumed its afternoon calendar after the standoff was resolved about 11:45 a.m. today.

Those who were supposed to report to jury duty were being diverted to the Circuit Court building on Punchbowl Street, although some, like Leila Markham, were inadvertently sent home.

Markham, who rode the bus in from Waimanalo, said she and other jurors were told court "is closed for the day" shortly after 8 a.m.

District Court was one of several buildings put off-limits to cars, although workers were allowed in some buildings, such as Alii Tower.

The closure of three parking garages, which daily hold nearly 2,000 cars, was "starting to get nightmarish," Dan Huberty, branch manager of AMPCO System Parking, said this morning.

AMPCO manages 1,000 parking stalls at 1100 Alakea and at Alii Place, where the city prosecutor has offices. Another 1,000 stalls in Bishop Square were closed.

Lisa Sarmiento said she had no problem finding alternative parking, but she couldn't get into 1100 Alakea, where she works for PKF-

Hawaii, an accounting firm.

That building was closed to workers while attorney George Parker III kept police at bay from an adjacent alleyway.

Sarmiento didn't want to drive home to Mililani if there was a possibility workers would be asked to return once the standoff ended.

Many agreed that traffic wasn't as bad as expected, attributing it to the fact that Bishop and King streets, major thoroughfares downtown, were open.

However, that wasn't true for many bus riders, who had to track down alternative bus stops. Several came up to bus driver Epi Mose, who was taking a break on Hotel Street to watch what was happening, asking where to catch their rerouted buses.

Mose ticked off several routes when asked which buses were being rerouted.

"Plenty of people asking where to catch the bus," he said.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hunt, who worked the Espressly For You coffee stand on the sidewalk outside the Executive Centre, was in a good spot to watch the nonaction. Business was down, but not significantly. "The increase we got from people not being able to get in their buildings was balanced off by people not being able to get downtown," Hunt said.

Willie Durham, part-owner of the big Ono Bake Shop at 1111 Bishop St., said, "Today has been a pretty good day in terms of business because people are waiting to get in their offices. But," he added, "I hate to take advantage of a situation like this."

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