Woman shot dead
by police on Maui

PAIA, Maui >> A woman driving an allegedly stolen 2004 Cadillac was shot and killed by police near a busy tourist intersection in Paia yesterday evening.

The fatal shooting took place near the front of the Bank of Hawaii along Baldwin Avenue in Paia and a few hundred feet from Hana Highway. Police did not release the identity of the woman.

Acting police Lt. Jaime Becraft said the woman was shot after she refused to stop the vehicle and tried to reverse it into a police officer.

"The officer was in danger. ... The vehicle was coming directly at the officer," Becraft said.

Becraft said police received a report at 3:44 p.m. that a vehicle had been stolen in Kahului, and issued an "all-points bulletin" for any police officer to stop the car.

A Maui resident, who declined to give her name, said a woman in the car was driving dangerously on the wrong side of the road as she approached Paia from Kahului. She was being pursued by police.

"She nearly hit me," the resident said.

Maui residents Billy Mithoefer and Robert Jeffcoat said they were walking out of a windsurf shop when they saw the white car heading from Hana Highway up Baldwin Avenue.

Becraft said the stolen car collided with another vehicle on Baldwin Avenue, but there were no serious injuries from the collision.

Mithoefer said he saw a police car pursuing the car and another police car coming down Baldwin Avenue to block the car's path.

The Paia, Maui, site where police fatally shot a female suspect last night was cordoned off.

He said the car tried to turn around but struck a tree near the Bank of Hawaii in Paia.

"It (the car) took off the top (of the tree)," he said.

Jeffcoat said there were about 40 people near the shooting. He did not see how many police officers fired at the car.

"We just heard several shots," Jeffcoat said.

Paia resident Puulei Sadowsky said he was walking on the sidewalk near Mana Foods when he saw the car coming down Makawao Avenue and hitting other parked cars on the right side of the highway.

He said the car went over the sidewalk and was reversing when at least four officers fired into the vehicle.

Sadowsky said he thinks the car came to a rest on the first shot, but police continued to fire at least six times.

"They unloaded on her. Boom, boom, boom, boom," Sadowsky said. "It didn't seem right."

Jeffcoat said he has spoken to people who have had their cars stolen recently in Central Maui and believes the thefts might be tied to drug use.

Becraft said detectives are continuing to investigate the incident. The department's Internal Affairs unit is also probing the shooting.

As a matter of procedure, the officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the probe, he said.

Becraft said he could not remember an incident where Maui police had fatally shot a suspect.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --