POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 23, 2010
A 23-year-old man was standing over a group of men lying in a parking lot, holding a semiautomatic pistol over them, when a Honolulu police officer rolled up in his patrol car.
The officer ordered the man to put the gun down, but he refused, according to police.
So the officer opened fire, critically wounding the man early yesterday morning.
The gunman had already fired at the men and had some of them pinned on the ground between two parked cars, said a source who has knowledge of the investigation but is not authorized to speak about it.
RECENT POLICE SHOOTINGS» Aug. 22: A patrol officer shot a man who allegedly was terrorizing four other men with a semiautomatic weapon in the Keeaumoku Street area.
» June 8: Police shot and killed a man who had injured another man with a machete and threatened two police officers with the weapon in the parking lot of First Hawaiian Bank on Analipo Street in Waianae.
» December 2009: Police shot a suspected car thief who allegedly drove toward an officer investigating a stolen vehicle in Kapalama.
» November 2009: An officer shot a man on Cooke Street in Kakaako when the man tried to drive off with another officer hanging onto the vehicle.
» November 2009: Police shot a car-theft suspect in the drive-through line of the Waikele Center KFC as he allegedly tried to escape from police in a stolen car and drove the car at officers, hitting one.
» April 2009: A homeless woman was shot and Tasered by police on King Street after she allegedly lunged at them with metal objects.
» April 2009: An off-duty sergeant shot a man after he allegedly punched and threatened to kill the officer in Makaha.
» March 2008: Police shot and killed a convicted felon caught breaking into a car at Pearlridge Center. The man drove his vehicle into other vehicles, dragging one officer and narrowly missing another.
The officer who arrived in the parking lot fired three times, hitting the suspect in the back.
If he hadn't fired, the men on the ground "would have gotten killed," the source said. A second officer did not shoot because his line of fire was blocked by the first patrol car, the source said.
The unidentified, wounded suspect was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical but stable condition, Lima said.
The wounded man had been hit "in the abdomen or lower abdomen," Lima said.
The man had not fired at either of the officers, Lima said.
The officer involved in the shooting, a 14-year veteran of the HPD, is on standard, three-day administrative leave while the incident is under investigation.
It was the state's ninth law enforcement shooting -- eight by the Honolulu Police Department -- since March 2008.
Patrol officers were dispatched to a report of a fight at Keeaumoku and Rycroft streets yesterday morning but could find no evidence of a fight. Then they heard gunshots from nearby Sheridan Street, Lima said.
The first two officers who arrived in the parking lot told the man to put down his gun, Lima said.
"He did not comply, and it necessitated one officer to discharge his weapon," Lima said. "He did so several times and the suspect went down."
The 23-year-old allegedly had been shooting at the men and was joined by another man who may also have been assaulting the group, Lima said. Investigators were still trying yesterday to determine whether the original report of a fight was related to the parking lot assault and shooting, Lima said.
"Probably, but we don't know for sure," Lima said. "We don't know the reason why, or the motive why, they were being terrorized or shot at."
Lima said the man with the semiautomatic pistol "handled the weapon in a way that placed the officer at risk," adding, "The officer deemed the action of the suspect as a threat of deadly force and took appropriate action."
The man who fled the scene was described as Asian, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds with black hair.
At least two bullet holes were fired into the trunk and driver's-side, rear quarter panel of a Toyota Camry parked in the lot that serves the Little Seoul karaoke bar, a tobacco store and bridal gown shop.
Lima said other vehicles in the parking lot also were hit. Police removed the damaged vehicles as evidence.