Family of man who died during airport breach seeks answers

Family of man who died during airport breach seeks answers

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The family of a Maui man who died after breaching security at the Honolulu International Airport has arrived on Oahu and is now trying to find out exactly what happened.

Relatives of Charles Kosi, Jr. say his death, which happened during his arrest on Saturday, could have been prevented. The family believes all Kosi wanted to do was to go home.

At last check, relatives say, Kosi was getting help at the Sand Island Treatment Center for a drug addiction. At the time of his death, he was on supervised release after serving prison time. His attorney, Alexander Silvert, said Kosi called him last week and said he had left the treatment center but planned to surrender to U.S. Marshals.

"I think after he left the Sand Island Treatment Center, he must have just started using drugs, and I know that he didn't have anywhere to live, so he probably was just going from place to place," Silvert said.

"He must have just gotten into a really bad state. I know he's from Maui, so maybe he was at the airport trying, in a delusion state, to get back to Maui," he continued.

Cell phone video taken Saturday morning captured the moment Kosi forced his way through the exit lane of the security checkpoint, eventually making his way to an area where ticketed passengers were waiting to board.

Officals say Kosi became unresponsive at the scene. First responders performed CPR on him before transporting him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

HPD homicide detectives are now investigating. 

Attorney Eric Seitz has represented multiple families in similar cases in the past. He says Kosi's autopsy will determine exactly how he died, but the family can also request its own independent autopsy.

"Each case is different depending upon the facts, but in this situation, the questions are still the same," said Seitz. "What actually caused his death and whether the level of force that was used was justifiable or not," Seitz said.

Kosi's family said he had two heart surgeries while he was in his twenties. Silvert said Kosi didn't seem frantic over the phone last week and he looked healthy the last time he saw him.

"He was smart, he was intelligent, he seemed self aware of the situation. So I'm very surprised that it ended up in this way," said Silvert. 

"The person I knew from my dealings with him in court and talking to him about drug treatment was someone who had a lot to offer and wanted to get better, wanted to overcome addiction and I really thought if he could of, he had a lot to offer the community and himself. I thought he could be an outstanding citizen," he said.

The Honolulu Police Department has opened an unattended death investigation. Kosi's autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

His family says he leaves behind seven children.

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