A Honolulu SWAT officer shot and killed a 33-year-old man on Friday after a nearly three-hour crisis negotiation through the door of his Kakaako apartment, Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic said at a press conference.

At about 1:45 p.m. on Friday, officers were dispatched to a report of a distraught male, possibly armed with a gun in an apartment on Kawaiahao Street, Vanic said. Officers made contact with the man and a crisis negotiation team was called to the scene, he said.

Honolulu police shot and killed a man in his Kakaako apartment building on Friday. Hawaii News Now

Officers communicated with the man for nearly three hours, during which time he opened and closed his front door multiple times while brandishing a handgun, according to Vanic. Officers observed that the man’s arm was bleeding, Vanic said.

At approximately 4:35 p.m., an officer from the Specialized Services Division, also known as the SWAT team, “deployed a less-lethal round” at the man, Vanic said. But the shot was “ineffective.”

“A struggle ensued between the male and several SWAT officers,” Vanic said. “During this struggle, the male pointed the handgun at one of the officers. At that time, another officer shot the male, fatally striking him.”

Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic briefed the media on the Kakaako police shooting Friday evening. Christina Jedra/Civil Beat 2021

The officer shot one round, Vanic said.

The interim chief declined to release the man’s name.

No officers were injured during the incident, Vanic said. As of 8 p.m., investigators were still on the scene, he said.

Vanic emphasized that the investigation is in its early stages.

“The briefing I am giving you contains the facts as I understand them right now and may change as the investigation continues,” he said.

The officer who fired his weapon has been an HPD officer for 12 years, Vanic said. He will be placed on temporary administrative leave, and the incident will be subject to an administrative investigation.

This is the sixth shooting by Honolulu police this year and the fourth fatality.

Honolulu SWAT officers do not wear body cameras, so there is no bodycam footage of the incident, Vanic said. A non-fatal shooting in May also involved officers who don’t wear body cameras.

All uniformed officers who have daily interaction with the public wear body cameras, Vanic said, including patrol and traffic officers. SWAT officers weren’t part of the initial bodycam rollout, Vanic said. Obtaining them is “a possibility,” he said, but he suggested cameras may interfere with tactical officers’ other gear.

“That’s something we need to look into further,” he said.

Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm has pledged to independently investigate all fatal police shootings.

Last week, during a press conference to discuss a fatal shooting in April, Alm criticized the department for allowing officers to write their reports in the same room after one of them has killed someone.

On Friday evening, Vanic said he had no problem with his officers doing this.

“There is a longstanding practice that officers do write their reports in the same room, but I don’t believe that they’re colluding,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’ll probably be continuing to write their reports in the same room.”

Not a subscription

Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
 
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
 
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.

About the Author