POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 23, 2010
Question: What ever happened to the firefighter accused of punching a man at Waimanalo District Park in June?
Answer: The Honolulu Fire Department ended its investigation of the matter, concluding the firefighter was acting in self-defense, and found no basis for disciplinary action, said HFD Capt. Terry Seelig.
"The firefighter exercised good judgment in trying to prevent the attack," telling the person to stop and trying to pull away, Seelig said.
Contrary to the Fire Department's results, police referred the case to the city Prosecutor's Office to determine whether the firefighter should be charged with third-degree assault.
A spokeswoman for the prosecutor said the matter is being reviewed.
Seelig said the man "behaved aggressively" and "attacked" the firefighter, who was seated in the fire engine's driver's seat with the stairs lowered and door open.
"The civilian had engaged in sufficiently threatening behavior that justified" the firefighter's actions, he said.
The civilian, Glen Murray, 52, recalled that he had a barbecue going near the back yard of his ex-wife's home, where they were celebrating his son's graduation. The area adjoins Waimanalo District Park.
The Fire Department had responded to a report of a possible brush fire behind the park, Seelig said.
Murray said that he went up to the fire engine to explain he had been barbecuing, and the firefighter jumped out of his seat, rushed him and punched him about 10 times in the head. He said he was bloodied and went to the Queen's Medical Center for treatment.
Seelig said he did not know in what way Murray allegedly attacked the firefighter or what the firefighter did to defend himself.
"I can't go into detail, especially if the case is pending," he said. "Whatever actions he took, the result is the same. He had to fight the person off."
Seelig said he was not aware the case was sent to the prosecutor.
Meanwhile, the Fire Department intends to seek enhanced sentencing guidelines for anyone who attacks a firefighter, along the same lines as an assault on a law enforcement officer, Seelig said. There were no previous attacks on firefighters, he said.