A Honolulu police officer shot and killed a 27-year-old man early Tuesday at Campbell Industrial Park.
This is the second fatal officer-involved shooting in less than 24 hours.
There have been nine officer-involved shootings this year, five of which were fatal. Last year, there were 12 officer-involved shootings and six were fatal.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that an officer conducting a routine patrol in the industrial park observed a moped traveling in the wrong direction just before 1 a.m.
The officer followed the man, whose identity has not been released, to the boat harbor, she said. The suspect then ditched the moped and fled.
After a brief chase on foot, the man returned to the moped and tried to get it started again, the police chief said.
At that time, the officer saw the man wielding a knife, Ballard said. He told him to drop it, but the man ignored the officer and continued to try to start the moped, which the police chief said was reported stolen.
A Taser electric gun was deployed on the suspect twice, as seen in the officer’s body camera footage, which HPD shared with media outlets. However, the stun gun did not appear to have an effect on him.
The footage does not, however, show the suspect lunging at the officer or him being shot. The struggle happened at a close range and there was a lot of camera movement going on, Ballard said.
The officer ran out of Taser cartridges, at which point he armed himself with his service weapon, she said. The suspect then lunged at the officer with his knife, and the officer fired his weapon approximately four times.
The 27-year-old man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The deceased suspect had two prior misdemeanor convictions and was wanted on a bench warrant in connection with an abuse of a family member charge, she said. He was also on probation.
The officer involved in the shooting had 13 years of experience, the chief said. He sustained minor injuries from the incident and is being treated at a hospital.
“Our officers do not have the benefit of instant replay, as we’ve seen in these past two days,” Ballard said. “They’re called upon to make split second decisions in situations that are tense, dangerous and rapidly evolving. Circumstances can change in a second.”
Body cam footage released by HPD showing Honolulu police officer confronting knife-wielding suspect. The footage does not show the shooting:
Uptick In Some Violent Crimes
The police chief isn’t the only one taking note of the perceived uptick in violent crime.
While rape and murders are down, Ballard said robbery and aggravated assault increased slightly this year compared to the same time period last year.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii called a press conference later Tuesday to discuss the recent spike in firearms-related violence on Oahu, along with other initiatives the office is working on.
“Apparently, some folks are going around town hiding behind masks endangering our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price.
He was referring to Monday’s fatal police shooting that began with reports of two men wearing ski masks in a Pearl City Sam’s Club parking lot. Police shot and killed a 34-year-old man after an across-town chase. The second person in the vehicle during the police pursuit was questioned and released.
Price said his office would have a three-pronged approach to helping state and local law enforcement tackle violent crime in the community.
He said he would investigate and prosecute offenders with multiple convictions. He would also target organized crime and coordinated activity. And he would keep a close watch on illegal game rooms, as they are often closely tied to violent crime.
Price said his office brought unlawful firearm possession charges against an offender this month. The charges came about after the defendant shot a man when he was not allowed into an illegal game room establishment.
“Violent criminals should know that we’ll use any federal statute available to prosecute you,” he said. “Our goal is to pursue charges that land you in custody now without further delay.”
In a separate incident Tuesday, a manhunt caused a lockdown at Ewa Elementary School. The suspect in that case has been apprehended, Ballard said.
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