Day 19: Deedy describes fatal shooting, aftermath in te - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Day 19: Deedy describes fatal shooting, aftermath in testimony

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Christopher Deedy returned to the witness stand on Wednesday, describing for the jury the altercation in which he fatally shot Kollin Elderts and what happened in the immediate aftermath of the incident. 

Hawaii News Now is streaming his statements live online and on the Hawaii News Now app. Click here to watch. Warning: Some of the material shown in the testimony may be violent or disturbing to some viewers.

On Tuesday, Deedy described at length his background experiences as a law enforcement officer, including his training as a Special Agent with the U.S. State Department.

Deedy also described the minutes leading up to his altercation with Kollin Elderts at the Kuhio McDonald's in 2011. During his testimony, Deedy said he intervened after Elderts and a friend harassing a customer in a Waikiki McDonald's in November 2011.

When Deedy was called back to the stand on Wednesday morning, he immediately resumed describing the night Elderts was shot, identifying individuals in the restaurant and their involvement in the altercation that preceded the shooting.

Deedy says that immediately before the shooting, he was following an altercation between Adam Gutowski and Shane Medeiros when he was "spear tackled" by Elderts and landed on the floor of the restaurant, a place he described as being the most dangerous for a law enforcement official.

"When an officer is assaulted and ends on the floor, we rise if possible, get to our feet, draw our weapon and issue commands," Deedy said.

Deedy says while he was struggling to get back to his feet, he saw Medeiros kicking Gutowski and that blood had begun streaming down his face. He testified that he was then able to get to his feet, where he says he warned Elderts before drawing his weapon.

"I stood up, put both arms in front of me, and said ‘Stop, I'll shoot,'" Deedy testified.

After the warning, Deedy says Elderts began to approach him, at which point he testified that he kept his left hand forward and began a "close quarters draw" of his firearm, with his left hand up. After he finished drawing his gun, Deedy says he and Elderts had a brief stand-off.

"For me, it felt like we were standing there for a long time," Deedy said. "He looked at me, and then with his left arm, reached for my gun."

At that point, Deedy says he fired the first shot, which, he says, is not believed to have hit Elderts.

Deedy was asked whether there was a possible alternative to firing his weapon at that point during the altercation.

"As I perceived the situation, I did not have any other level of force that could adequately stop the level of force that was being used against [Gutowski] and against myself," Deedy said, also describing the manner in which Gutowski was being assaulted just prior to discharging his weapon. 

After firing the first shot, Deedy says that Elderts reached forward for the hand that was holding his firearm, grabbed onto his right wrist, then drove him down past the cashier's counter and onto the ground.

He testified that he did not fire his weapon again until after Elderts landed on top of him.

"As I was driven to the ground, I landed hit and my head again," Deedy said. "Elderts stepped right on top of me. I was still fighting to maintain personal control of my weapon, as he had his hand on my wrist."

Deedy testified that at this time, Elderts, began punching him in the face with one arm still attached to his right wrist. Deedy says he was trying to pull his arm into a position where he could fire his weapon when Elderts lost his grip, allowing him to point his firearm at Elderts.

During this physical encounter, Deedy says Elderts was in the middle of an attempt to deliver a blow to his face when he fired his weapon twice, striking Elderts.

"After the second shot, he didn't finish the punch," Deedy testified. "He just came down on top of me."

Deedy testified that he laid on the ground and closed his eyes after firing his weapon, saying "it felt like all of the tension and stress inside me had fell out of my body."

"I stayed there with my eyes closed, and for me it felt like a really long time," Deedy said.

Surveillance tapes show Deedy standing up and walking away moments from Elderts moments later, walking over to where his slippers were on the floor in a self-described "daze" before realizing, he says, what had just happened.

"I snapped out of it," Deedy said. "My job here is not done. I need to do my best to revive him."

Video shows him walking back over to Elderts, where Deedy testified that he ripped open Elderts' shirt and began rendering aide by checking for exit wounds and then applying pressure to an entry wound to prevent further bleeding.

When police arrived at the scene, Deedy says Officer Naki asked a cashier for towels, which he then placed on Elderts chest to assist in stopping the bleeding. Deedy testified it was at this time he identified himself as a law enforcement officer to Officer Naki, who did not, according to Deedy, acknowledge him.

After emergency medical technicians arrived, Deedy says he stood up, walked over to where his slippers where on the floor, and was then approached by Officer Naki, who began patting him down and asking if he had a weapon on him. At this point during the testimony, Deedy says he assumed that police officers were already under the impression that he was the one who had shot Elderts.

"I told him, ‘It's on my hip,'" Deedy said, referring to his pistol after Naki had asked if he was armed. Naki, according to Deedy, replied, "What is?"

Deedy's firearm was then removed, he says, a search was completed, and he was placed in handcuffs and led into a side dining room.

From there, Deedy said, he was questioned and photographed by evidence technicians. He says he refused to have his blood alcohol content tested until he had spoken to a representative from the U.S. State Department, and asked for one to be contacted.

Deedy says he spent approximately 30 minutes in the side dining room before he was taken into a police car. On his way to the hospital, he overheard a radio conversation between two police officers saying he was being arrested for murder.

"It was like a ton of bricks hitting me in the chest," Deedy said after learning he was being charged with murder. "I was not in a good place."

Nurses at the hospital took medical tests and attempted to ask him questions, Deedy testified.

"We're trained not to give any details about a use of force incident after you've been in one, because after you've been in a situation like that you might not recall everything right away," Deedy said. "We're instructed not to do anything, not to submit to any tests, until we have an agency representative or counsel with us."

At the hospital, Deedy says, he was allowed to wash some of the blood from his body before being given a paper suit and then taken to police headquarters, where he placed a phone call to his father with instructions on how to contact a State Department representative.

Deedy testified that he went several hours without being in contact with anyone from the State Department, in which time he was asked if he wanted to give a statement and again asked to have his blood alcohol content tested.

During cross examination by the prosecution, Deedy was asked about specifics regarding policies involving the use of deadly force by the U.S. State Department, including whether or not it was State Department protocol to use deadly force when there is no safe alternative.

"Retreat is sometimes an option, not always an option," Deedy responded, when asked whether retreat could be considered among possible alternatives.

Deedy was also asked by prosecutors about his firearms training and qualifications, clarifying that when he purchased his Glock handgun he was not authorized to carry his Sig Sauer weapon off-duty but that the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act allowed him to carry other weapons when not in official State Department capacity.

Tune in to Hawaii News Now beginning at 5 p.m. for complete reports on today's testimony. 

You can also watch the testimony on the Hawaii News Now mobile app.

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