MILILANI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The shoplifting suspect who was fatally shot by police Wednesday in Mililani ignored officers’ commands and drove toward them with his vehicle, Police Chief Susan Ballard said.
“At the time that the stop was made ... it could have turned out safe for everyone if the suspect had just listened to the officers’ orders,” Ballard said, in a news conference Thursday at Honolulu Police Department headquarters.
The shooting happened about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, when plainclothes officers in Mililani on an unrelated case spotted a man matching the description of a shoplifting suspect.
Three officers in unmarked cars surrounded the suspect at a stoplight on Lanikuhana Avenue, and then ordered him to get out of the vehicle.
But instead of getting out of the car, Ballard said, the suspect drove the vehicle toward the officers.
She said the officers feared for their lives, and two fired at the suspect. The suspect was able to drive off, despite sustaining a gunshot wound to his chest.
The vehicle traveled about 100 yards before plowing into a tree.
Two passengers in the vehicle sustained critical injuries from the crash. Ballard said they remain hospitalized.
No officers were hurt in the incident, the second fatal shooting involving Honolulu police so far this year.
The first happened last month, when a 51-year-old Ewa Beach was fatally shot in Kalihi.
Earlier this week, a sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a man at the state Capitol after an “extreme struggle,” authorities said.
Ballard said the three officers have from eight to 18 years of service. They’re on administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard procedure.
The suspect’s identity has not yet been released, but Ballard said he had previously been convicted of a misdemeanor and was under supervised release.
Residents in normally quiet Mililani were stunned to see the melee unfold in their neighborhood.
“All of a sudden I heard a pop pop and not too long after that, the sirens went off and I looked outside and there’s cops just flying,” witness Kehau Javier said.
Another witness reported hearing police yelling at the suspects to put their hands in the air.
“To hear the gunshots myself and to know that its right here in my neighborhood where my kids are, it’s a little crazy,” resident Christina Cristobal-Miller said.
This story will be updated.