A lawsuit brought by the man’s widow against the department is ongoing.

An independent review has determined two Honolulu police officers acted in self-defense when they shot and killed a 45-year-old man as he drove his vehicle at them at the Hookipa Apartment Complex in Kaneohe in December 2020.

Two plainclothes officers shot Caillen Gentzler to death as they attempted to serve an arrest warrant and won’t face charges as the use of force was justified, Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steven Alm said Thursday.

Gentzler locked himself in his vehicle and attempted to drive away with officers in front of the moving vehicle when they fired at him. Alm said Gentzler’s displayed “consciousness of guilt” by fleeing and said officers later recovered a stolen rifle in the backseat.

HPD officers involved in the shooting of Caillen Gentzler in December 2020 won’t face charges. The department later changed its policy on firing at suspects in moving vehicles. (Hawaii News Now)

Last year the Hawaii Law Enforcement Review Board similarly found the shooting was justified as officers where acting in self-defense and protection of others.

Alm said, “the public can be reassured that a different agency is reviewing the actions of HPD. It’s good for the system that you have independent agencies looking at it, and calling it as they see it.”

Caillen Gentzler was shot and killed by Honolulu Police on Dec. 28, 2020. An independent review found the officers’ use of force was justified. (Hawaii News Now)

A patrol officer investigating possible stolen vehicles had discovered a Jeep registered to Gentzler, which showed an arrest warrant for a parole violation and a suspected connection to a kidnapping case, according to Alm. The alleged kidnapping victim eventually withdrew the complaint.

Two officers fired five rounds into the moving vehicle and one struck Gentzler in the head. The Crime Reduction Unit officers were not wearing body cameras.

The police department subsequently changed its policy for shooting at moving vehicles.

Officers cannot now discharge their weapons unless the person in the vehicle threatens someone with deadly force other than the vehicle itself.

In 2021 Monica Gentzler, Caillen’s wife, filed a lawsuit against HPD alleging the use of deadly force was “unnecessary, unwarranted, and unjustified.”

Eric Seitz, Gentzler’s attorney, said Thursday the suit is ongoing.

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