POSTED: 11:49 p.m. HST, Jul 23, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 03:50 p.m. HST, Jul 24, 2013
A McDonald's customer testified Tuesday that State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy kicked Kollin Elderts to start the physical confrontation at the fast-food restaurant in Waikiki, then later pulled out a gun and fired at Elderts at close range.
Assan Jobe, a Kaneohe Marine, testified Deedy was only a step or two away from Elderts, but Jobe said he didn't know whether the shot hit Elderts.
Jobe said he and others in the restaurant left after the shot.
He said when the gun was pulled, the situation turned dangerous.
"It's not a fistfight anymore," he testified.
Jobe took the witness stand in the 10th day of Deedy's trial on a charge of murdering Elderts at about 2:45 a.m. Nov. 5, 2011, during a chaotic scene at the McDonald's restaurant on Kuhio Avenue.
The prosecution maintains that Deedy was driven by inexperience and alcohol in shooting the unarmed 23-year-old Kailua man. The defense contends Deedy fired in self-defense to ward off Elderts.
Deedy, 29, of Arlington, Va., was here to provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
Jobe testified he had been with Alexander Byrd, a Kaneohe Marine at the time who testified earlier in the trial that a drunken Deedy had repeatedly threatened to shoot Elderts in the face.
Jobe said when he got to the restaurant, he saw a "white guy," a reference to Deedy, and a "Hawaiian guy," referring to Elderts, arguing, but Jobe said he couldn't hear what they were saying.
He did not know the name of either man, but the references were clear based on his description of the men and other witnesses' testimony.
Jobe said after the kick, Elderts threw back a slipper at Deedy, then slapped the agent.
The two got into a "fistfight," Jobe said.
When Deedy fell, Elderts went to another fight by a side exit door, then went back to Deedy when the agent stood up, Jobe said.
That's when Deedy pulled out his gun from his right side, the Marine said.
"I feel that I'm in danger," Jobe said. "There's a gun around."
Jobe said as he was leaving, he heard another shot.
According to the undisputed testimony earlier in the trial, three shots were fired. The defense contends the first two missed Elderts and that the third was the fatal one to the chest.
Unlike many of the other customers, including Elderts and Deedy, who had been drinking, Jobe said he does not drink alcohol because of his "Muslim Islamic" religion.
Earlier Tuesday, Adam Gutowski, 29, a Waikiki resident and Deedy's friend and former college roommate at Tulane University, testified that following the kick, he held up his hands and tried to stop Elderts from approaching Deedy.
But he said Elderts punched him in the head in his left temple, knocking him backward to the side exit door.
Gutowski said he was "severely beaten" by Elderts and his friend Shane Medeiros, which apparently was the fight by the door that Jobe saw.
Gutowski testified he was left "dazed" and bleeding from his head injuries.
Gutowski was called as a prosecution witness, but at the request of city Deputy Prosecutor Jan Futa, he was declared an "adverse witness," which allowed the prosecutor to grill him with leading questions.