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Agent did not identify himself, witness testifies

A friend said Kollin Elderts felt threatened when asked, "You feel like getting shot?"

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 2:35 a.m. HST, Jul 26, 2013

A close friend of the 23-year-old Kailua man killed at a McDonald's restaurant in Waikiki testified Thursday that he did not hear or see U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy identify himself as a law enforcement officer or show a badge before he fired the fatal shot.

Shane Medeiros, a longtime friend of Kollin Elderts, who was shot in the chest, also testified that Deedy repeatedly told Elderts, "You feel like getting shot? You want to get shot?"

Medeiros said Elderts became upset by the threats and replied, "Oh, you want shoot me? If you want to shoot me, shoot me."

Elderts walked to Deedy, who kicked him, Medeiros testified. Elderts then delivered an "open-hand" slap to the agent's face, Medeiros said.

Medeiros said he was fighting with Deedy's friend when he heard gunfire and saw Deedy and Elderts falling to the floor. He heard a total of three shots, he said.

Medeiros, 24, is a key prosecution witness. His testimony came on the 12th day of Deedy's trial on a charge of murdering Elderts the early morning of Nov. 5, 2011, at the Kuhio Avenue McDonald's restaurant. He will retake the stand when the trial resumes Monday for cross-examination by Deedy's lawyer.

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

The prosecution contends that Deedy was driven by alcohol and inexperience when he went to Chinatown and Waikiki bars armed with a 9 mm Glock before ending up at McDonald's and shooting the unarmed Elderts.

Deedy's defense is that he identified himself as a law enforcement officer and showed his badge when he tried to quell a potentially dangerous situation. But Elderts became upset and attacked Deedy, who fired his gun in self-defense, the defense maintains.

Medeiros, however, said he never heard Deedy identifying himself and never saw him showing any identification. He said Deedy's remarks about getting shot made Elderts "upset that he was pretty much threatened."

Medeiros said he saw Deedy's right hand reach for his hip and a "black butt" sticking out from his side. He said his first thought was Deedy was reaching for a Taser electronic weapon, but then realized it was a gun.

He said that Elderts pushed aside Deedy's friend Adam Gutowski, and Medeiros and Gutowski began fighting, punching each other. Medeiros said he heard the shots and saw Elderts and Deedy standing before they fell to the floor.

Medeiros said he had known Elderts since their days at Kailua Intermediate School. He described his friend a "great person" who was loud but liked to joke around. "He could make anyone laugh," Medeiros said.

Elderts was working for one of his uncles, building steel trusses, Medeiros said.

Medeiros said that when he and Elderts went to McDonald's and ordered food at the counter, Elderts was joking with the McDonald's workers and with another customer, Michel Perrine.

Medeiros said all he remembers from that exchange is that Perrine said, "Oh, I live in Hawaii, too; I'm from Hawaii."

Medeiros said Elderts made it clear he was joking and responded, "OK. That's cool."

Medeiros testified he later noticed Perrine staring at him and told Perrine, "You still have a f--- problem? We told you we were just joking around, but you're still staring at us."

Medeiros said Deedy appeared to be thinking Perrine was in trouble, but Deedy didn't reply when Medeiros explained they were just joking with the customer.

Medeiros said the situation was defused by another customer, Alexander Byrd, but Medeiros testified he later heard Deedy telling Elderts that acting the way he did would get him shot and asking if he wanted to get shot.

"I was shocked he would say that," Medeiros said.

According to prosecutors, the agent's kick started the altercation that led to Elderts' death.

Earlier Thursday, Brandalynn Salzbrenner, a McDonald's cashier, retook the stand and testified that Elderts was on top of Deedy on the restaurant floor and punching him when she heard two gunshots.

Salzbrenner testified she saw Deedy take out his gun and fire a shot at Elderts, who pushed the agent backward and had straddled him on the floor when she heard two other shots.

Salzbrenner said Elderts didn't "wind back" when punching Deedy.

She described the blows as "soft punches."

Salzbrenner testified the first shot hit Elderts, but city prosecutors in pretrial filings said the first shot narrowly missed him.

The defense contends it was the third and final shot that hit the Kailua man in the chest.

The fatal bullet was recovered from Elderts' body. Police found two bullet holes in the restaurant walls.

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