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Cashier tried to stop quarrel that led to fight

The worker said she attempted to calm Elderts, who was upsetting a customer

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 2:34 a.m. HST, Jul 26, 2013

A McDonald's cashier testified Wednesday that she told Kollin Elderts to stop his verbal exchange with a customer at the restaurant counter before the deadly 2011 confrontation with U.S. State Department Special Agent Christoper Deedy.

Brandalynn Salzbrenner said Wednesday that Elderts repeatedly said to Michel Perrine in a joking manner, "Can I help you?"

Perrine told him, "No, I got it," and at one point asked Elderts if he was trying to be "racist" because Perrine was "white," according to Salzbrenner.

Perrine testified earlier in the trial that he had a verbal exchange with Elderts at the counter, but said he doesn't recall much after drinking a pitcher of beer and three shots of tequila.

He said the only word he recalled Elderts saying was "haole" multiple times.

Salzbrenner testified she told Elderts to stop because Perrine was getting upset.

Salzbrenner testified as a prosecution witness in the 11th day of Deedy's trial on a murder charge of shooting Elderts at the McDonald's Kuhio Avenue restaurant about 2:45 a.m. Nov. 5, 2011.

Deedy, 29, of Arlington, Va., was here to provide security at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

He is accused of shooting the unarmed 23-year-old Kailua man after visiting bars in Chinatown and Waikiki.

Elderts had been celebrating his friends' birthdays and also was at the First Friday festivities in Chinatown the previous night before ending up at McDonald's.

The prosecution contends Deedy was driven by alcohol and inexperience when he instigated the physical altercation by kicking Elderts in the knee.

The defense, however, maintains that Deedy fired in self-defense after he checked on Perrine, which angered Elderts and led to Elderts attacking him.

On the witness stand Wednesday, Salzbrenner did not mention the word "haole" in recounting what she heard.

Salzbrenner said after the verbal exchange, Perrine gave Elderts' friend Shane Medeiros the "stink eye," which led to Medeiros asking Perrine why he was staring at him.

At that point, Deedy went to Medeiros and told him to leave Perrine alone, but Medeiros told the agent not to get involved and that it wasn't his problem.

Deedy and Elderts later got into a physical confrontation, which Salzbrenner said started with the agent kicking Elderts.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn called a recess when Salzbrenner broke down and wept after she was asked about Deedy reaching for his gun.

She later testified she was "scared."

"If he could have shot one person, he could have shot us all," Salzbrenner said.

Dr. Kanthi De Alwis, retired city medical examiner, testified earlier in the day that Elderts died from a gunshot wound in his chest, with alcohol and signs of marijuana and cocaine in his system.

De Alwis, who performed the autopsy, said the fatal bullet ended up lodged under the skin in Elderts' back.

She said that partially burnt and unburnt gunpowder went through Elderts' plaid shirt, white undershirt and onto his skin, which meant the gun was fired anywhere from a half inch to 10 inches away.

She said Elderts' blood alcohol content was 0.12. Under state law, 0.08 is the legal threshold for drunken driving.

De Alwis said Elderts' blood did not show any signs of methamphetamine or PCP.


Star-Advertiser reporter Sarah Zoellick contributed to this report.

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