HPD: Suspect lunged at police with a large knife moments before deadly shooting

WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A seemingly routine traffic call in Waipahu turned deadly Friday night as tensions escalated between police and a 55-year-old man.

Officers responded to a call of a driver fleeing the scene of a crash just after 9:10 p.m.

Police located the suspect and attempted to speak to the man when he fled to a nearby housing complex on Leoku and Waipahu Street.

That's when police say, the situation took an alarming turn.

"The officer ordered the male to stop but the male continued to walk away before suddenly turning and lunging toward him while holding a large knife, nearly striking the officer," Police Chief Susan Ballard said.

"The officer backed away, drew his firearm and ordered the man to put the knife down," Ballard added.

Police say the suspect refused, and fled to his second floor apartment.

Meanwhile, neighbors noticed the commotion and curiosity grew.

"I seen the cop chasing him with the knife and they just keep telling him drop the knife," neighbor Reed Gersaba said.

Witness video shows apartment residents standing on balconies watching the situation unfold.

Once the suspect was inside his apartment, witnesses recall the suspect egging on officers, saying "Shoot me," Gersaba said.

Police then forced their way into the unit.

That's when police say the suspect again lunged at the officers with the knife. And officer fired three shots, killing the man.

"Any time an officer pulls (their) weapon and kills somebody, it's not a decision that's made lightly," Ballard said. "We want the public to be confident in the fact that our officers are doing the right thing."

The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave as is standard procedure. HPD says the officer has been with the force for five and a half years. He was assigned to the Pearl City area.

"Sometimes a seemingly very innocent, very routine type of case can turn in to a deadly incident," Ballard said. "There are no routine cases for the officers out there on the road."

The suspect killed has not officially been identified.

This story will be updated.

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