Suspect accused of stealing subsidized police vehicle remains at large

Suspect accused of stealing subsidized police vehicle remains at large
Officers combed the scene at Foodland Beretania after the apparent shooting. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Officers combed the scene at Foodland Beretania after the apparent shooting. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police are searching by air and on foot for a suspect who allegedly stole a subsidized police vehicle on Monday morning in Kaimuki, drove at an officer, plowed into a delivery truck and led officers on a chase before ditching the car on Oahu's North Shore.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said all police weapons and materials were recovered from the vehicle.

But she urged residents not to approach the suspect, saying he could be dangerous.

The incident all started when police responded to a report of a suspicious man at 10th Avenue in Kaimuki. Ballard said the man was sitting on the sidewalk as police investigated, but was not handcuffed.

He asked to go to the restroom, and that's when he ran toward the subsidized vehicle, jumped in and drove off.

Ballard said the car was running, which is not against policy.

The suspect allegedly drove toward an officer with 24 years on the force. The officer shot at the suspect, who is believed to be injured.

The officer also sustained minor injuries in the melee.

Police pursued the suspect in the subsidized vehicle for a brief period, but stopped the chase for fear of bystanders getting hurt.

At Foodland on Beretania, the suspect reportedly got into a fender bender with a delivery truck, but was still able to get away.

Officers found the abandoned subsidized vehicle in Waiahole, prompting an hours-long lockdown of Waiahole Elementary School.

Witness Rachel B. said the incident near Foodland was shocking.

"He turned into Foodland driveway and just flew it," he said, adding the driver almost hit a pedestrian.

"It didn't make sense to me because his lights weren't flashing. So I didn't know if it was a stolen car," she said.

"It was scary ... Why would you hit another vehicle as a police officer and not render aid?," she initially thought.

On its website, the Honolulu Police Department described the vehicle as a "subsidized dark blue 2016 Toyota 4Runner with lights illuminated bearing HI license plates SSX803."

Anyone who may encounter the unidentified suspect should call 911.  The investigation is ongoing.

This is a breaking story. It will be updated with new details as they become available. 

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