By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Never under-estimate the power of thirst. Maui police say it was the promise of fresh drinking water that helped coax a fugitive suspected of attempted murder out of a home in Kahului where he had been hold up for 50 hours.
Josiah Okudara, 22, surrendered shortly after 3 p.m. Friday without a struggle. Witnesses say he was exhausted and apparently very thirsty.
"Water was the key. He was thirsty. He really wanted ... he was thirsty," said Lt. Peter Delima, a member of the Maui Police Department's Crisis Negotiations Team.
Okudara was wanted on two counts of attempted murder for firing a gun at a car full of people in July of 2010 and injuring one of those people.
Wednesday afternoon police cornered him in a home on Opukea Place in Kahului. He refused their orders to come out. On three occasions people heard gun shots inside the home.
Police did not return fire. But they did cut off water and electricity to the home.
That was key because after 50 hours hold up without water Okudara finally gave in.
"The deal was, you come out and we'll give you all the water you want. And he did specifically ask for four bottles of water which we brought him - four bottles of water - and eventually he walked out," Delima said.
A couple dozen people from nearby homes had been evacuated for their own safety.
Some stayed in a Red Cross shelter. Others were stuck in their homes because if they left, they would not be allowed back.
"He should have just surrendered already. Just give in so that everybody can have their convenience of coming to their homes - going work - take my daughter to school - but I couldn't do that because of this. I couldn't go out. They wouldn't let me back in," said Betty Cabieros, who lives nearby.
Police say taking a slow measured approach was the best way to prevent anyone from getting hurt.
"It was very long, but you never know how long these things take. I mean you would like that peaceful outcome in the first eight hours. When it went this long we were just hoping that it was going to become a peaceful outcome," said Maui police Lt. Danny Dods.
"We're really proud of the Maui Police Department today," added Maui County Communications Director Rod Antone. "It's taken 50 hours, but they got this guy's trust and they got him out without a scratch."
Okudara was taken to the main police station in Wailuku. In addition to facing the attempted murder charges he will be questioned about a possible role in a car crash in which a Maui woman was killed earlier this year.