Wounded HPD officer in critical but stable condition after being shot in chest and hand
Police arrested the shooting suspect on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and a firearm violation.
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A credit card fraud tip led police to a Waianae home where an officer was shot Monday by a man who they said fired a shot as he burst out of a closet and then was shot after he aimed his weapon at another officer while fleeing.
The Honolulu Police Department Crime Reduction Officer who was hit twice by a single bullet — once in the hand and once in the upper chest — was in critical but stable condition Tuesday.
The unidentified, six-year HPD veteran is “in good spirits, and we’re hoping that he’s going to make a full recovery,” Honolulu police Chief Ballard told reporters at HPD headquarters. “He’s still not out of the woods yet.”
Police arrested the shooting suspect — Tony D.V. Souza, a 47-year-old man with multiple prior convictions — on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer and a firearm violation. Ballard said other firearm charges are expected.
“It appears that the male suspect was also struck twice by a single shot that hit his hand and leg, and he is in serious condition but is expected to survive,” Ballard said. “The suspect has been arrested.”
Souza had prior convictions for second-degree attempted murder, operating a stolen vehicle, abuse of a household member, resisting arrest and two parole violations.
“This was a felon in possession of a firearm,” Ballard said. “We could have had several officers who could have lost their lives, potentially, as well as people in the house.
“When you have someone who’s already been convicted of attempted murder and now they have a firearm, they’re a danger to the community, as well,” Ballard said. “It’s a scary time. It’s very frustrating to the officers and to us that someone like this is on the road and is able to get a firearm.”
Plainclothes officers with the District 8 Crime Reduction Unit were investigating a tip of a credit card fraud case at a Waianae home before the 1:30 p.m. shooting.
The officers had their badges out and were wearing body armor marked “Police” when a female resident let the officers inside, Ballard said.
The six-year HPD veteran entered a bedroom where Souza allegedly was hiding with a small-caliber handgun — about a .22-caliber, Ballard said.
Souza was not being sought by police, Ballard said.
“He was not really being looked for anything or wanted for anything,” she said.
There was no struggle as officers initially reported Monday, Ballard said.
Instead, the man suddenly burst out of the bedroom closet with “his weapon at the low ready,” Ballard said. “As soon as he came out of the closet, he shot the officer. … The suspect — who was not the male that the officers were looking for — then ran out of the room, pointed his gun at a second officer, who fired at and struck the suspect.”
“The incident is a somber reminder of how quickly a situation can change,” Ballard said. “In this case the officers were looking for a credit card suspect when the shooting occurred. All of this occurred within a couple of seconds. This is another example of officers having to make split-second decisions in life-threatening situations.”
The officer who shot Souza is a 13-year HPD veteran and is on standard, three-day administrative leave while criminal and administrative investigations are underway, Ballard said.