The state attorney general has decided it won’t pursue charges against a deputy sheriff who fatally shot a homeless man during a struggle at the Hawaii Capitol in February.
Krishna Jarayam, special assistant to Attorney General Clare Connors, said in an email that there was insufficient evidence to press charges against the deputy, who shot Delmar Espejo in the back at close range, killing him the night of Feb. 18.
Jarayam said that Esepjo’s family has been notified of the office’s decision.
State officials have declined to release the deputy’s name. Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said in February that the deputy has been with the department since May 2017.
Espejo and the deputy sheriff got into an altercation after Espejo, who was holding an open container of alcohol, refused to leave the Capitol grounds, Espinda said in February. He said security cameras didn’t catch footage of the incident.
Espejo’s family retained attorney Myles Breiner shortly after the incident. Breiner and the family have tried to cast doubt on DPS’s account.
They’ve said in interviews that Espejo was physically disabled. An autopsy report said he stood just 5-foot-3 and weighed 117 pounds.
The AG’s announcement comes after a similar decision by Maui County prosecutors last Wednesday.
The prosecutors said they wouldn’t press charges against an Oahu Community Correctional Center guard who shot escaped detainee Maurice Arrisgado Jr. The prosecutor’s office cited a Hawaii law that allows jail guards to shoot escapees.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell