Sheriff’s deputy fatally shoots man at state Capitol after ‘extreme struggle’

Police were on scene as of 9:30 p.m.
Police were on scene as of 9:30 p.m.(Hawaii News Now (custom credit))
Updated: Feb. 19, 2019 at 5:52 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man who was killed in an officer-involved shooting at the state Capitol on Monday night was “physically combative" with a sheriff’s deputy despite numerous warnings, state Public Safety officials said.

Nolan Espinda, director of the Department of Public Safety which oversees the state sheriffs, said the man had placed the deputy in a headlock before he sustained a single shot in the body.

“He was in an extreme struggle, inclusive with arms wrapped around his head and upper torso," Espinda said, at a news conference Tuesday.

It all started around 8:20 p.m. on the ewa-makai side of the Capitol rotunda.

State officials said the sheriff’s deputy was conducting routine patrols when he spotted a man with a bottle of alcohol.

“After repeated directions to dispose of the alcohol and vacate the premises were disregarded, a struggle initiated by the male ensued," said Espinda.

The 28-year-old man was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The deputy, who’s been on the force since May 2017, was treated for cuts. He’s been placed on restrictive duty while the department conducts an internal investigation.

Police remained on scene for several hours, and yellow police tape cordoned off the area of the Capitol near Iolani Palace. The yellow tape has since been taken down.

Honolulu firefighters and paramedics also responded to the scene.

Police have opened an unattended death case and an assault on a law enforcement officer case.

Some lawmakers said they want to see security at the Capitol beefed up.

“It’s a wake-up call for people in this building to get on with a macro-security plan," said Republican state Rep. Gene Ward.

Public Safety officials said the incident also underscores the need for body cameras and non-lethal equipment, such as tasers. Right now, sheriffs are equipped with pepper spray, handcuffs and batons along with their firearms.

“They are not equipped with tasers at this time. Clearly, the use of more tools in their belt in regards to weapons with less than lethal outcomes would be greatly helpful," Espinda said.

The department is now in the process of requesting funding from the state Legislature for the additional equipment.

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