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No charges ‘for now’ in Honolulu airport dog shooting

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Courtesy of Leisha Ramos

A 2-year-old pit bull dog named Kai’ele, shown here with owner Leisha Ramos and her baby daughter Liana, was shot and killed by a Securitas guard at Honolulu Airport on March 28.

A private security officer who fatally shot a family dog at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on March 28 will not have criminal charges filed against him “for now,” state Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement today.

Chin said the decision followed an independent review of unspecified evidence by the Attorney General’s office and an evaluation of “relevant criminal laws and legal defenses available in the state of Hawaii.”

In the statement, Chin said, “At this time, the evidence is insufficient to prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Reached by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today, the security officer had no immediate comment after hearing about Chin’s announcement.

His employer, Securitas Security Services USA Inc., said it would have no comment.

Previously the company said that the 2-year-old, pit bull mix named Kai‘ele was loose in an “unauthorized public area” adjacent to the international arrivals terminal and the Hawaiian Airlines drive-thru check-in area when it tried to attack the officer, who was injured while trying to avoid the dog.

A summary from the company said the dog was “aggressively barking and lunging at tourists in the area,” and when the officer arrived the pit bull was outside its kennel. The company said the dog got away from the owners and began pursuing the officer as he was asking them to leave the unauthorized parking area.

“Despite repeated requests from the officer to the owners to restrain the pursuing pit bull, the owners were unable to control the loose animal,” the statement said.

“The officer attempted to evade the pit bull’s pursuit by moving backwards and sideways,” according to Securitas’ initial statement. “The officer attempted to seek protection by using the coconut trees in that area as a barrier. As the pit bull lunged toward him, the officer fired a single shot at close range, in self defense to prevent being attacked.”

Securitas said the officer “has expressed his sorrow and condolences to the family for the loss of the pit bull. Securitas management shares the same sentiment in this unfortunate incident.”

The dog’s owner, Leisha Ramos, 25, of Mililani, told the Star-Advertiser today that Chin’s decision is “very unfair.”

She met with Chin at the Attorney General’s office this morning, when Chin told Ramos there were two witnesses but no video of the shooting.

“They said they don’t have enough evidence to make a case right now,” Ramos said. “They didn’t go into detail. I find it to be very unfair. If it was a police dog that got shot that guy would be in jail right now. If it had been a civilian that shot a dog he’d be in jail right now.”

Ramos said that Chin “was really nice about it. He understood where I was coming from. He said ‘Sorry about the whole situation.’”

Ramos has four children — ages 7 months, 7, 8 and 11 — and only the oldest knows how Kai‘ele died.

For the rest, Ramos said, “I just told them Kai‘ele went to heaven.”

“It’s heart breaking and discouraging,” she said. “I would have thought it’s the airport, they seem so high on security but they don’t have cameras. It makes no sense to me. You would think they would have cameras all over the place. Funny how that one area doesn’t have a camera. It’s just unfortunate. I keep my faith in God and I hope and pray that justice does get served.”

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