POSTED: 7:25 a.m. HST, Jul 31, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 5:21 p.m. HST, Jul 31, 2014
A Honolulu police officer fired five shots through an open car window and hit a 52-year-old Manoa man multiple times Wednesday night after he drove away and nearly struck the officer on Kuhio Avenue, police said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
The officer who fired the fatal shots was a Waikiki patrol officer with six years on the force. Police said the man who died had no criminal convictions.
According to the police, the officer was responding to a fender bender at about 8:10 p.m. Wednesday when the Manoa man rear-ended a bus. The officer approached the vehicle and saw an open alcohol container in the car. The man fled the scene of the traffic accident on Kuhio Avenue, driving toward the Honolulu Zoo.
While attempting to evade arrest, the suspect nearly hit the arresting officer, who took out his service handgun and fired at the fleeing car, police said.
From Kuhio Avenue and Kanekapolei Street, the car traveled more than a block, crossing the road and running up onto the sidewalk before crashing into a post at Kuhio and Liliuokalani avenues, witnesses said.
The impact of the crash was so severe that parts of the car, including the engine block, could be seen near Liliuokalani and Kuhio avenues.
Emergency Medical Services took the suspect by ambulance to the hospital, where he died.
Police have classified the case against the dead driver as a first-degree attempted murder case. Police have also opened an investigation into violation of the open container law, disobedience to a police officer, an unattended death and a motor vehicle collision.
Firefighters were already on Kuhio Avenue responding to a hotel fire, and were also dispatched to the shooting.
Police closed Kuhio Avenue, between Walina Street and Liliuokalani Avenue, to investigate the incident and reopened the street by 4 a.m.
This is the second fatal police shooting of a driver in Waikiki within the last two years.
In January 2013, Waikiki was the scene of another incident where police shot and killed Schofield Barrack soldier Gregory M. Gordon, 22. after he tried to evade capture on Ala Wai Boulevard.
Gordon, from Ashford, Ala., had a blood alcohol content 2.5 times over the legal limit for driving, the city medical examiner said. Police said Gordon was shot after he disobeyed the orders of police at several points to stop the Dodge Ram truck he was driving.
Police patrol vehicles boxed the truck in on Ala Wai Boulevard and video footage of the incident showed the truck rammed the squad cars, and backed up at least once before ramming them again, before Gordon was shot. Three HPD officers were injured, treated and released.
Police officials said the officers acted properly because Gordon was endangering the lives of officers and the public.