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Escape of slain Oahu Community Correctional Center inmate a ‘major mistake,’ DPS director says

  • Video by Cindy Ellen Russell /

    Hawaii Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said "an escape was a major mistake," including the Friday night escape of Oahu Community Correctional Center inmate Maurice Arrisgado Jr. The 47-year-old man was fatally shot by a guard.


    Oahu Community Correctional Center inmate Maurice Arrisgado Jr. was fatally shot by a guard Friday night.


    State Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda held a press conference today to discuss the escape of OCCC inmate Maurice Arrisgado Jr., 47, who was fatally shot in Kalihi on Friday night.

The Oahu Community Correctional Center prisoner who was shot and killed by a guard Friday night escaped by dashing through a door and then through a closing vehicular gate, state Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said today.

Speaking at a press conference, Espinda said corrections officers in pursuit repeatedly ordered the 47-year-old inmate to stop as they chased him into the surrounding Kalihi neighborhood before a guard hit him with a single gunshot to the upper torso.

Maurice Arrisgado Jr. was shot at 6:10 p.m. outside of St. Anthony Catholic Church near the intersection of Kaumualii Street and Puuhale Road. He died 33 minutes later in a hospital emergency room.

Espinda said deadly force is authorized by law and as needed to stop a fleeing inmate.

“Officers are trained to shoot and stop, and that’s what he did,” he said.

The guard who shot Arrisgado has been employed by DPS since August of 2013, he said, and was reassigned to “a non-armed post.”

The Honolulu Police Department, state Attorney General and DPS Internal Affairs Office are investigating as is protocol, he said.

Espinda said preliminary reports indicate the inmate bolted from the “intake and release unit” at the front of the facility, with officers in pursuit on foot and in vehicles. He ran through the closing gate and across Kamehameha Highway and then up Bannister Street before ending up near the church.

Espinda said Arrisgado earlier had returned to OCCC following a court appearance and was in an area of the jail where inmates are processed for entering and leaving the facility.

“An escape is a major mistake,” he said. “Those things just don’t happen.”

It’s early yet, he added, but an investigation will look into every detail to determine what mistakes were made.

Arrisgado was a probation violator, Espinda said. He was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and was being held at OCCC on a $500,000 warrant.

On Tuesday night, HPD officers were trying to serve a bail revocation warrant on Arrisgado when he fled. When the officers tried to gain control of him, he allegedly tried to stab an officer not once but twice, according to police.

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