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Suspect shot after hitting 2 officers with stolen SUV


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POSTED: Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Police homicide and Internal Affairs officers are continuing their investigation today into the police shooting in Waikele of an auto theft suspect who remained hospitalized last night.

Police shot and critically injured the 23-year-old man in the drive-through of a KFC restaurant in Waikele Center at lunchtime after he allegedly struck and injured two officers on foot with a stolen sport utility vehicle he was driving. Witnesses said he also rammed two police vehicles.

Honolulu Police Department officials would not identify which officers fired their weapons yesterday.

Criminal Investigation Division Capt. Richard Robinson said the owner of a stolen white Dodge Durango had reported seeing someone drive the car past his house in Pearl City. Another person recognized the SUV, called 911 and reported seeing it in Waikele.

;[Preview]  Waikele Shooting Update
 

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Pearl City Crime Reduction Unit officers found the SUV in the drive-through.

One pulled up behind the Durango in an unmarked black GMC SUV, and another pulled up in front with an unmarked white Ford minivan.

Two plainclothes officers on foot approached “;wearing police markings on them,”; identified themselves as police, and the suspect “;began to ram the vehicles in front and back,”; Robinson said.

“;There was a significant amount of force used,”; he said, and the officers were hit.

Just ahead of the Durango at the drive-through window, Charleen Deuprey had just gotten her order of food when she saw an HPD van pull up to the right of her truck.

“;Then I just saw these guys with their bullet vests on trying to get him out of the truck, but he didn't want to get out of the truck,”; she said.

“;He was trying to get out of the area, but he couldn't get out because the white van was there, my truck was in front and the HPD car was in back, so he couldn't get anywhere,”; Deuprey said. “;He couldn't get out of the officer's way, so shots were fired.”;

She did not see the officers getting hit, but “;did hear his car bang the car behind him,”; she said. She described the experience as “;scary.”;

“;I was pretty amazed that he was that determined to get out of there,”; Deuprey said. “;It's pretty sad how it ended.”;

City Emergency Services Department spokesman Bryan Cheplic said paramedics were called to the scene at 12:30 p.m. and treated one man for what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken in critical condition to a trauma center, he said.

Two men in their 30s were transported to a hospital in stable and serious condition. One of the injured officers, with six years of service, was treated at the hospital and released yesterday. The other, a 12-year HPD veteran, remained hospitalized in stable condition, HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said.

Police arrested two of the Durango's passengers, a man, 24, and a woman, 25, yesterday afternoon on suspicion of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. The woman was also arrested on drug offenses.

Police said multiple shots were fired, and witnesses reported hearing three shots.

“;At first I thought it was a car backfire,”; said John Saoit, a Radio Shack salesman. “;I didn't think anything until people were talking.”;

The incident occurred sometime between 12:20 and 12:30 p.m. yesterday, police said.

Inside the KFC, employees and customers heard the gunshots.

“;Everybody was scared; everybody was pretty much in shock, but everybody's fine,”; said KFC Assistant Manager Sandra Vore.

Another employee said there were three customers in the restaurant at the time, and they all ran out after the shooting.

Police commandeered the restaurant until about 5 p.m., and it remained closed for the night.

There appeared to be a bullet hole through the front windshield of the Durango. Its back door was hanging off, and it sustained damage to its front and rear bumpers.

There was minor damage to the GMC, and the van's front end was damaged.

Amanda Fiesta, office manager at Century 21 All Islands, nearby, said: “;It's kind of scary. You see it happen on the mainland. ... It hit close to home.

“;If it was a Furlough Friday or even last week, Halloween, Party City was crazy with kids. There were a lot of children, and they were parking by KFC. There was a lot of traffic in this place.”;