comscore 1 dead, 1 injured in Chinatown shooting | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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1 dead, 1 injured in Chinatown shooting


    Two people were injured, one fatally, in a shooting Saturday at Cuties Cafe on North King Street in Chinatown.

Honolulu police arrested the main suspect in the fatal shooting of a 44-year-old Halawa woman during an apparent robbery attempt at a reputed Chinatown game room early Saturday morning.

The victim’s family identified the woman as Tara Tavaga. She suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was taken in critical condition to a hospital, where she died.

A 25-year-old man was also shot in the shoulder and was reported to be in stable condition.

Police arrested a 29-year-old Kapolei man on suspicion of robbery shortly after the shooting.

A 30-year-old man believed to be the shooter was located at a Kapolei residence and arrested Saturday night on suspicion of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree murder, place to keep a pistol, possession of a firearm by a felon, and four outstanding contempt charges.

The suspect does not have a local address.

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    • Violent crime is way down from the 1970s-1990s, though you wouldn’t know it if you get all your information from the evening news. 1970s had the highest murder rate in modern Hawaii, a lot of it from organized crime. Things are a lot safer now.

      • I once spoke with someone who claimed to be a high ranking figure in the Yakuza criminal organization. He spoke of how during the ’70s and ’80s they had a presence here in Hawaii, specifically Chinatown, involving drug trafficking. While I must admit I wanted to dismiss what he said as hogwash, I noticed he had a pinkie finger missing along with a plethora of tattoos which went from one elbow, clear across his back to his other elbow. While tattooing has become somewhat of a rage nowadays, not too often do I see senior citizens pushing their eighties with tatts like this. And the missing pinkie finger–don’t see many of those either.

      • Hawaii has had a low crime rate compared to other states during my 70 years. Part owner of the family home and we don’t lock the doors. I do have a couple renters now but it’s mellow.

        • I’m with you – haven’t seen my house key in 17 years! I feel like if I have to lock my doors, I’m living in the wrong place.

      • Great comment Allie. We all benefitted from your wisdom. Two people get shot at 2:00 am, in a seedy neighborhood, and we should all stay inside? How about me in Hawaii Kai? Can I go out and get the mail or wash my car?

        • I actually lived in China town when teaching at U of H. There was some kind of incident every night, usually after the hazy conditions all that booze and pot and god knows what else produced in the legions of lost hanging out in the joints and back alleys. A city has to have a district like it was back then. Killings however were rare, unlike similar seedy areas all over the mainland. Orchid Ballroom was my favorite local color joint. Anyone remember it?

  • Sad this happened just one block away from HPD’s home. They really need to clean house over there – I mean its ridiculous that they walk around and hand out tickets to pedestrians while being buddy buddy with the chronics and drug dealers. They need to take a hard line approach and STOP being so damn friendly with them. Its also sad that individual officers need their sergeant’s permission before making a simple sit lie arrest. Too much micro managing reflects very poor management skills…

      • One thing I should add is that HPD officers who work the Chinatown beat should be commended for cracking down on the street gangs comprised of a certain ethnic background–those who live, work or frequent Chinatown after hours know what I’m taking about. As far as what goes on behind closed doors, back in 2009/2010, we’ve heard of frequent police raids of various gambling and liquor store establishments which were needed to curb the violence, which often spilled out onto the street.

    • Like anything else we must avoid resorting only to extremes–in this case on one end of the spectrum we see a pervasive crack down on jaywalking and on the other end, laying down the law on those who commit murder. Drug dealing, prostitution, gambling and other vice activity, which are often at the root cause of the violence which occurs in Chinatown seem to continue unabated. The thing you should be aware of is that if the drug dealers you speak of appear to operate with impunity, chances are it’s an organized criminal operation. Problem is, ongoing investigations involving organized drug dealing, especially in areas such as Chinatown takes time–as in years. So patience my friend.

  • I once had an HPD cop come harass me for sitting on a wall on Kuhio Ave in Waikiki, threaten me with a ticket for loitering, and then walk off twenty feet down the sidewalk where he approached a group of black males dressed in ridiculous suits, loitering next to a Jaguar, VERY OBVIOUSLY PIMPS, and SMOKING MARIJUANA–the cop proceeded to slap hands, high five and hug the pimps getting high, spent ten minutes talking story with them and then got back in his car and drove off.

    Honolulu’s Finest for sure.

  • Why Do people go to those sleazy parts of town and sorry to sound racist, but.. And get involved w these so called “China Dolls/cuties” that ruin their lves? These could be anywhere from nightclub dancers to development officers to municipal govt. workers! For heavens sakes men, the days of “bloody Mary” singing in Sourh Pacific that you should leave your white women for innocent nubile Asians are over! They are all calculatng money grubbers! Trump needs to turn his gaze to the Pacific!

  • The number of crimes committed involving a firearm have been on the rise in Hawaii even though nationally the violent crime rate as a whole has been going down. It can (though maybe this is just my imagination) that it does not feel safer as years ago just because a gun is used more often now.

    • Actually, it’s not the case. The data is pretty easy to access online. I think that people are more connected now to many more news sources. Shooting stories also lead TV news and print media. Creates a perception of more violence. Certain property crimes are rising somewhat and of course, the residential burglary rates bulge upward each summer.

  • This place was an obvious front for illegal activity for a long time. They had blacked out windows for Christ’s sake! This was preventable as everyone who’s walked past this building for the past few years has known it to be shady. Why was it not completely shut down years ago?

    • A comment from someone who actually knows the area! Yes, this is a front for something else. Watch the vagabonds that go up to this place, look both ways before they knock on the door and then quickly slip in when the door is cracked open. Think they are serving just coffee at this Cuties Bar?

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