A man was shot and killed by a Honolulu police officer early Sunday near the Capitol after the suspect struck another officer with a machete.
It was the sixth fatal officer-involved shooting since June, and apparently the first captured on video by a police body cam.
Acting Chief Jonathon Grems said Sunday evening that the 8:45 a.m. incident occurred on the grounds of the state Department of Health building on Punchbowl Street as officers were trying to arrest the machete-wielding man, whose name was not released.
A state deputy sheriff had earlier called police for help after the man refused to put down his machete and a long pair of hedge shears, Grems said. The deputy sheriff’s own attempt to subdue the suspect with pepper spray failed.
Three officers responded and immediately began telling the man to put his weapons down, Grems said. Eventually, he did.
But as one officer began to move in to arrest the man, he picked up the machete and struck the officer in the torso. A second officer responded with a stun gun, which failed to subdue the man. At the same time, a third officer fired three or four rounds at the suspect, Grems said.
Per HPD’s policy, none of the officers’ names was released. The officer hit with the machete was wearing a vest allowing him to avoid serious injury. The other two officers were unhurt. The suspect was taken to a hospital where he died.
The incident is the 11th officer-involved shooting on Oahu in 2018 and the sixth fatal one. It is also believed to be the first captured by one of HPD’s newly acquired body video cameras. Grems said the video will be released if it does not jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
Grems was standing in for Chief Susan Ballard who was attending a conference in Florida. He said police procedures will be reviewed as part of the internal investigation into the shooting.
“The concern is not only for the public and the folks that are being fired upon but the officers as well,” Grems said. “We encourage the public to please listen to officers’ commands. Please obey the commands so we can avoid these tragic situations.”
On Sept. 27, a man in his 40s was shot by an HPD officer after he lunged at the officer with a knife in the parking lot of Dillingham Plaza.
On Sept. 20, Honolulu police fatally shot Freddie Joe Whitmore, who raised a loaded Glock at police inside a McCully high-rise as officers were executing a search warrant on the 22nd floor.
In late July, Gavalynn Mahuka, a 53-year-old convicted felon armed with a sawed-off shotgun was fatally shot by an officer following a seven-hour standoff that started when officers tried to serve a protective order at the man’s Nanakuli home.
On June 24, Steven Hyer Jr. was fatally shot by an HPD officer after he began stabbing a police dog with an arrow following a seven-hour standoff.
On June 1, Renie Cablay was fatally shot by police after he lunged at an officer with knife.
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