Fugitive caught after leading police toward Obama compound - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fugitive caught after leading police toward Obama compound

Police process Leon Rodrigues at a Kailua station Police process Leon Rodrigues at a Kailua station
Leon Rodrigues Leon Rodrigues
One of the concrete barriers protecting Kailuana Place One of the concrete barriers protecting Kailuana Place
The direction in which Rodrigues eventually attempted to flee The direction in which Rodrigues eventually attempted to flee
Steve Tayama Steve Tayama

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - With warrants out for his arrest and police following his pick-up truck, Leon Rodrigues tried to get away by turning off Kalaheo Avenue onto Kailuana Place. Bad move. Kailuana Place is guarded by police and Secret Service agents. Concrete barriers block the road. Kailuana Place is the street where President Barack Obama is renting a home for the Christmas holiday.

Police said Rodrigues was wanted for traffic violations and contempt of court. Five warrants for his arrest had been issued.

Officers spotted him twice in the past few weeks, but both times he got away. Then Thursday at 2:20 p.m., an officer saw him again, this time driving a silver pick-up truck at the intersection of Kainui Drive and Kalaheo Avenue.

The officer did not turn on his lights or siren, but followed Rodrigues. Police believe Rodrigues noticed the police car behind him and turned onto Kailuana Place in an attempt to get away.

As he made the turn he was greeted by barriers and members of the president's security team.

Rodrigues quickly made a U-turn and fled. The officer turned on his lights and siren and tried to stop the suspect, but he continued to the H-3 Freeway. With at least one police car on his tail, Rodrigues drove at normal speeds over the Koolau Mountains to Halawa. He then turned around by driving across a grassy median and headed back over the H-3 to the Windward side of Oahu.

Rodrigues eventually led officers to property in Waimanalo leased from the state by a group of Native Hawaiians who claim sovereignty.

"I saw this silver truck come flying into our village, and a few seconds later a whole bunch of police chasing him," said resident Steve Tayama.

"He happened to know (or) work with one of our villagers about ten years ago, but he's not part of our village or our nation," Tayama added.

Police say residents of the village were "very cooperative" but Rodrigues was not. They tried to talk him into surrender, but Rodrigues, who was trapped, refused to leave his truck. Residents say police spent about 30 minutes talking with Rodrigues, then broke the passenger side window of his truck and zapped him with a tazer.

Rodrigues was checked out at Castle Medical Center, and then taken to the Kailua Police Station where he was booked. Late Thursday he was being held on the warrants and was expected to face additional charges.

President Obama was unaware of what was happening. He was playing golf with friends at the Klipper Course at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Police stress that Rodrigues did not enter the secure area around the president's vacation compound.

Police said Rodrigues, 39, lives in Kailua. He apparently was not aware of all the security in the Kailuana neighborhood of Kailua.

 

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