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Wrongful death lawsuit filed in Kona police shooting

The family of a 32-year-old Kailua-Kona man who was shot and killed in a car he was driving by Hawaii police during a manhunt for an attempted murder suspect filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the two officers and the county this afternoon.

The lawsuit, filed by the parents of Kainoa Kahele-Bishop, who was allegedly shot and killed March 10 by Hawaii island police, names detectives Justin Gaspar, Chad Taniyama, the county, and other unnamed defendants.

“…although Kainoa did not attempt to flee and posed no threat to the officers, Defendants Gaspar and Taniyama immediately fired several shots into the Vehicle striking and killing Kainoa,” reads the complaint, which also accuses the detectives of violating department policies governing the use of force. “Since Kainoa’s death Defendants Gaspar, Taniyama, and certain of the Doe Defendants have harassed Plaintiffs’ family members and repeatedly have made false, misleading, and/or threatening statements about the relevant events to support the narrative that the shooting of Kainoa was justified.”

On March 10, Hawaii plain clothes vice detectives Justin Gaspar and Chad Taniyama were looking for suspect Ronald Patrick Keahonui Kahihikolo, 44, who was wanted for attempted murder, domestic abuse, car theft, and gun crimes in the Kona area. Kahihikolo was with people who had allegedly two stolen vehicles, a silver Chevy Malibu and a white Dodge sedan, according to police.

As the detectives began canvassing the area, they spotted the Chevy Malibu driven by 32-year-old Kainoa Kahele-Bishop heading southbound on Kamakaeha Avenue.

“When detectives attempted to contact the pair as the Malibu came to a stop at the intersection of Kamakaeha Avenue and Palani Road, Kahele-Bishop ignored the officers’ lawful commands to show them his hands and began reaching for an object. Fearing for their safety, two detectives discharged their duty weapons, striking Kahele-Bishop, who unfortunately died at the scene,” read a Hawaii Police Department news release on March 11.

After executing a search warrant on the Chevy Malibu, detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section recovered a loaded sawed-off shotgun and an unloaded bolt-action rifle, more than 25 rounds of ammunition, one spent round of ammunition and eight credit cards that did not belong to Kahele-Bishop or his female companion, the statement said.

Kahele-Bishop had an outstanding parole violation with the Hawaii Paroling Authority and was “also a person of interest in an attempted burglary Feb. 26,” according to Hawaii police.

Gaspar and Taniyama’s actions were “use of deadly force was unnecessary, unwarranted, and in violation of applicable policies and practices of HPD and laws of the State of Hawaii,” according to the complaint.

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