Officer onA 29-year-old police officer was placed on paid administrative leave yesterday after he fatally shot a man who rammed a stolen sport utility vehicle into the officer's three-wheeled vehicle in Waikiki yesterday.
after fatal shooting
Internal Affairs and
are in the works
By Leila Fujimori
Police Chief Lee Donohue said police Internal Affairs Division is investigating the incident involving the Waikiki patrol officer, who has been on the force for five years. The prosecutor's office also will conduct a review.
The driver, described by police as a 25-year-old local male, died at Queen's Medical Center about 3 p.m. yesterday from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Witnesses gave slightly different versions of the events leading to the shooting.
Witness Tim Braden, a nearby resident who was at Kaiulani and Tusitala streets loading his truck, said: "He was about five feet away from the Jeep when the officer realized he was going to be taking off and that was his last chance to stop him. He walked right up to the window and basically fired his gun."
Braden described the officer as very composed and knew what he was doing and how he was going to put an end to it.
"With all the kids in the neighborhood there was a lot more at stake than just the criminal," Braden said.
Braden said there were children around at the time, which was right before school, and the driver could have hit one of them.
Another witness, Dave Fetters, said he saw the man drive toward the officer, who then fired once at the driver.
But from his 19th-floor apartment, John Wollstein said it looked as if the driver was shot as he was trying to flee, not while trying to run over the officer.
The officer tried to stop the stolen vehicle for a traffic violation, said homicide Lt. William Kato.
The officer ran the license plates and the plates did not match the vehicle, which may have something to do with why he stopped the car, Kato said. The vehicle was reported stolen Sept. 11 and the plates on Sept. 19.
The man pulled into a driveway of the Ala Wai Townhouse on Tusitala Street, and the officer pulled in behind him and got out of his vehicle, Kato said. The man then rammed the sport utility vehicle into the patrolman's vehicle, a Go-4, three times.
Then he turned the vehicle toward the officer and started going toward him, Kato said. "The officer yelled, 'Police, stop,' " and fired one shot at 7:18 a.m.
Donohue said the man "tried to ram through a gate, backed up several times, striking our police vehicle, again striking the gated area."
He said the man's vehicle shoved the police vehicle onto the roadway, while the sport utility vehicle ended up against the wall of a building.
Donohue, because of the investigation, would not discuss details on where the officer fired from in relation to the vehicles or whether the officer said he fired in self-defense.
Donohue described Tusitala Street, where the townhouse building at 2421 Ala Wai Blvd. has a rear entrance, as a narrow street in a crowded residential area.
Braden said: "We did have the reputation of being the ghetto. We were coming out of that and I really hope we can put all this behind us and our neighborhood can pull together."
Star-Bulletin reporters Jaymes K. Song and
Treena Shapiro contributed to this report.