The armed robbery suspect shot and killed by a police officer Tuesday behind Waimalu Shopping Center was identified yesterday as Herbden Gabriel, a 46-year-old from Pearl City with an extensive criminal record.
An off-duty police officer who was directing traffic as part of a special duty job responded to a call for help at the strip mall about 3:20 p.m. A chase ensued to a service road on the mauka side of the center, where Gabriel was shot.
Police said Gabriel was holding a handgun and refused to drop it. He was shot at least once in the torso and taken in critical condition to a hospital where he died a short time later, police said.
According to state records, Gabriel had been convicted of 11 criminal counts from 1984 to 2001, including kidnapping, robbery and assault. Most recently, prison records showed, Gabriel was paroled on March 16, 2006, after serving nearly five years on forgery charges.
Witnesses said Tuesday’s case began as a robbery at Pukana La Massage on the second floor of Waimalu Shoping Center. Sun Ahmed, Pukana La’s owner, said she had given Gabriel a massage once before, but declined to discuss the shooting further when reached by phone yesterday.
"I’m doing fine," Ahmed said.
Susan Scott, owner of Ezogiku restaurant at the center, said Ahmed told her the robber wanted a massage because his body was sore from working out.
Ahmed said he appeared "nervous or agitated" and that he got up from the massage table two times when Ahmed left the room to speak with a customer outside, according to Scott.
When Ahmed returned and told the man to lie back down, he responded that she was "nice," but "he needs money" and that he didn’t want to hurt her, Scott said. The man showed the handgun and took Ahmed’s purse, but she followed him and struggled with him on the stairwell.
Ahmed asked a nearby man for help after the suspect ran off. The man chased the suspect across the parking lot to where the police officer was flagged down.
"Thank God that police officer had special duty," Scott said.