2 police officers
honored for valor
A foiled suicide and an ocean
rescue earn HPD medals
An off-duty Honolulu police officer who saved a fugitive from drowning and another officer who pulled a suicidal woman off a freeway overpass were recognized by the Police Department yesterday for their actions.
Officers Thomas Dumaoal and Russell Pereira were both awarded the Honolulu Police Department's Warrior Bronze Medal of Valor during a ceremony.
Police officials said Dumaoal saved the life of a distraught woman who was about to jump off the Queen Emma Street overpass on Jan. 30. Dumaoal said the woman was standing on a small concrete ledge over the railing, kicked off her slippers and stood there with her toes and half her feet dangling over the H-1 freeway.
"She turned around and looked at me and didn't say anything," Dumaoal said. "When she looked away, that's when I jumped over.
"I pinned her against the railing, and another officer grabbed her from behind on the other side of the railing."
Although the ledge was only a "couple of feet wide," Dumaoal said he could not use his hands to hold on to the railing because he needed both to secure the woman.
"She was about 250 pounds. ... She was fighting."
Pereira was off duty and spending time on Mokuleia Beach on April 24 when he heard police sirens nearby. Turning on a portable police radio, he said, he heard chatter about a fugitive who had stolen a car nearby and was being pursued by officers.
Police officials said Shaun Hewlen -- who had more than $100,000 in warrants for his arrest -- abandoned the stolen car and stole a surfboard, then attempted to escape by paddling into the ocean near Silva's Channel. Pereira said he watched as Hewlen lost his surfboard and struggled in the water; he decided to go in after him.
"He was about 200 yards out, and the water was kind of rough. ... His head was bobbing up and down," Pereira recalled. "He said, 'Help, help, I'm drowning,' when I got close."
Pereira said there were about five on-duty police officers on the beach, but he decided to go in and get the suspect since he has dived in Mokuleia waters for 20 years.
"Plus," he added, "everyone else was still in their uniform."