WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four Honolulu Police officers have been placed on administrative leave after an early-morning shooting left a Waipahu man dead and family members claming police used excessive force.
According to authorities, the shooting happened behind a home at 94-926 Hiapo Street. Officers went to the home at about 3:10 a.m. Saturday to investigate a dropped 911 call.
"When they arrived, they saw a male standing at the back of a house and holding a 12-foot metal police with a straight blade attached to the end," said Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.
Witnesses told the officers that the man had threatened a family member with the blade.
Kealoha said the man refused orders to put the long blade down. and instead advanced toward them while making cutting motions.
"One of the officers deployed his electric gun, but it was ineffective, and the male continued his advance," said Kealoha. "A second officer filed multiple shots, fatally striking the male several times."
Police said five shots were fired. Emergency medical responders said the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family members and the Honolulu Medical Examiner's office identified the man as 43-year-old Victor Rivera.
"There had been a previous call to that residence in November, and at that time, the male was voluntarily transported to a hospital," said Maj. Richard Robinson of HPD's criminal investigation division. "Upon arrival at the scene, one of the family members told the officers that he had a mental disorder."
Police said Rivera had no previous criminal record.
A nearby neighbor was shocked to hear that Rivera had been killed.
"Nice boy, very nice. In fact, he used to bring my rubbish in because I cannot walk good, so he used to bring my can," said neighbor Sue Leong. She said she didn't see what happened, but heard what sounded like a door slamming.
"He doesn't make any trouble or nothing. Very helpful. I see him working in the yard and all that. He's a good boy," Leong also said.
The officer who fired his weapon has been a Honolulu Police officer for five years. The officer who used the Taser is a 19-year HPD veteran. The two other officers who responded had 20 and 13 years of experience.
All four officers are stationed at Pearl City. They have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation into the shooting.
Robinson said the incident happened in a small, enclosed space.
"Every scene, we try to do everything we can to protect everyone's safety," he said. "This situation developed very rapidly.
Rivera's brother, who did not identify himself by name, said he was next to him when the shooting happened. He and other family members declined on-camera interviews, but he told Hawaii News Now that the family is angry at police, and believe that officers used "excessive force." He declined further comment.