Two shootings involving Honolulu police officers have occurred in less than 24 hours.

On Wednesday evening, two plainclothes Honolulu police officers shot and killed a man suspected of shoplifting at a Mililani Walmart.

On Thursday afternoon, officers shot and critically injured someone wanted in connection with a disturbance hours earlier in Kakaako.

Police Chief Susan Ballard, who held a pair of press conferences about the shootings, made a plea for people to cooperate with officers.

“It’s unnecessary,” she said of the shootings. “Just listen to the officers and do what they say and everything will turn out fine.”

HPD Chief Susan Ballard presser on 2nd cop shooting fatality.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard speaks at a press conference Thursday following a fatal officer-involved shooting Wednesday evening. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In the Mililani incident, a pickup driver attempted to ram a third plainclothes officer before the shots were fired, Ballard said, adding that police instructed the driver multiple times to exit his vehicle.

The three officers, all members of HPD’s Crime Prevention Unit, were uninjured.

The dead man, who was not identified, had an outstanding warrant and was on probation, Ballard said.

The three officers were in the area working an unrelated case when they received a report of a shoplifting suspect leaving a Mililani Walmart, Ballard said. The officers saw a driver matching a description of the shoplifting suspect and followed him.

Two other people who police did not identify, one male and one female, were also in the truck at the time of the shooting. Both were injured after the driver who was shot crashed into a tree.

The male passenger had a warrant out for his arrest, Ballard said, but there were no prior charges against the female. Both were taken to a hospital and are in critical condition but stable, the chief said.

It’s not yet known how many shots the two officers fired, Ballard said, adding the driver was struck in the chest. She said police were “reasonably certain” the man they shot was the shoplifting suspect.

Police are still waiting on a search warrant for the truck.

After they spotted the driver leaving Walmart, the officers followed the pickup to the intersection of Anania Drive and Lanikuhana Avenue. All the officers drove unmarked police cars.

They boxed the truck in the left-turn lane and ordered the driver to exit the vehicle multiple times, Ballard said. At one point, an officer punched the driver-side window out.

The driver reversed, striking one car, then accelerated forward at another officer, Ballard said. That’s when the two officers, one on the driver’s side and the other diving out of the way of the vehicle, discharged their firearms.

Police are often reminded to remove themselves from danger if they are about to be hit by a car, Ballard said.

“It’s better to follow up than if we worry about losing an officer’s life because they get run over by a car,” Ballard said.

The intersection where the shooting occurred is in a residential area with homes at all four corners. Ballard said preventing a cross-fire that could strike bystanders or other officers is part of the department’s annual training.

The Mililani incident was the third fatal officer-involved shooting on Oahu this year and the second involving HPD.

In the Waikele incident Thursday afternoon, police shot a 37-year-old man who had threatened to burn down a Kakaao business hours earlier, Ballard said. The suspect is still in critical condition in a hospital.

The man entered the Kakaako business looking for his girlfriend about 3 p.m. and fired a single shot into the ground before leaving, Ballard said. A small fire at the business was extinguished quickly, but the owner sustained minor burns.

Officers found the suspect in a parking lot near his residence in Waikele. At first he seemed to be cooperating with police commands, but then he pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at an officer, who fired three to four shots, striking the man in the chest, Ballard said.

The Mililani incident was the third fatal officer-involved shooting on Oahu this year and the second involving HPD.

A state deputy sheriff shot a man identified by the medical examiner as 28-year-old Delmar Espejo Monday night on the Capitol grounds after the deputy found the man with an open container of alcohol. The two were struggling when the man was shot and he later died.

Honolulu police fatally shot Siatuu Tauai Jr., 51, on Jan. 29 after he struck an officer with his vehicle during a traffic stop near the Kamehameha Shopping Center. Ballard said Thursday that the medical examiner’s office has not yet released the man’s identity.

There were six fatal officer-involved shootings last year on Oahu.

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