HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Left heartbroken by the sudden loss of their son, the family of the man killed by a sheriff’s deputy at the State Capitol on Monday is speaking out.
The man killed was identified as Delmar Espejo. He allegedly put the sheriff deputy in a headlock during an altercation moments after he was asked to leave the grounds.
That fight prompted led the sheriff to fire his gun. The state said Espejo was loitering with a bottle of alcohol that night.
But relatives are casting doubt on what led up to Monday’s shooting at the State Capitol.
The 28-year-old’s mother is still visibly heartbroken as she spoke about her son Saturday.
She’s raising questions about the account, saying her son was disabled, and they don’t believe that the use of lethal force was appropriate.
“My son is a good boy. He is my youngest one and I love him so much but I don’t know why they shot him,” mother Cresencia Espejo said. “He no deserve to die like that. He no deserve. I love my son,” she said.
Espejo and her long time boyfriend, who was like a father to Delmar don’t believe the story the sheriff’s office is telling.
“To be honest with you they murdered that boy, they did, they murdered that boy,” None Fagasa, the mother’s boyfriend said.
“A struggle initiated by the male ensued. In the course of the ongoing struggle and in fear of additional imminent danger, the deputy discharged his firearm striking the male,” Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said.
“I said no, that can’t be true. That can’t be true. I don’t think that really happened,” Espejo said.
The family hasn’t yet pursued legal action, but they say they’re looking at all their options.
“He’s only 5-foot-4, 120 pounds. Outwrestle the sheriff? There’s no way. And that is a fact, there is no way,” Fagasa claimed.
Surveillance footage didn’t cover the area where encounter took place.
His mother added that Delmar was born with a severe disability. She says doctors put his feet in casts as soon as he was born.
“He always complained about his feet because sometime we go to the store and in like 10 minutes he would say ‘please mom, I need to sit down, I cannot stand that long,'” Fagasa said.
The family also believes Delmar may have been harassed by deputies prior to the shooting.
The Office of Public Safety couldn’t be reached for comment on Saturday regarding the family’s statement.
“We certainly will take into account any improvements we can make. It’s very early in the investigation and I would not be able to definitively say at this point in time whether or not the incident requires us to make any changes to our operations,” Espinda had previously said.
In the mean time, Espejo’s family is grieving and asking questions — questions they may never get answers to.
“All we want is the truth. Nothing else. We want the truth. That is all we want,” Fagasa said.
Sherrif’s deputies are not equipped with tasers or body cams. During Tuesday’s press conference, public safety officials said they were looking into acquiring that technology prior to this shooting.
The deputy who shot Espejo is on restrictive duty pending a full investigation being conducted by HPD.