Suspect in officer’s shooting arrested for attempted murder, gun crimes

Updated: Jul. 30, 2019 at 1:52 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 47-year-old suspect accused of shooting a police officer in the chest Monday at a Waianae home has been arrested on attempted murder and gun crime charges.

The suspect, who was also shot, was identified as Tony Souza.

“This incident is a somber reminder of how quickly a situation can change,” said Police Chief Susan Ballard, at a news conference Tuesday morning. “All of this happened in a couple of seconds.”

Ballard said the officer was shot while he and others in a Crime Reduction Unit were trying to track down a credit card fraud suspect at the home.

That suspect wasn’t at the property. But Souza was. He has a long rap sheet, and sources say he’s been tied to a recent robbery case.

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When the officer entered a room at the home, Ballard said Souza allegedly jumped out of a closet and shot him. Souza then tried to flee and was shot once by a different officer. The bullet injured his hand and leg.

CRU officers are required to wear bulletproof vests. Ballard said the injured officer remains in critical but stable condition after being shot in the hand and chest by a single bullet.

The suspect was seriously injured, and was booked at the Queen’s Medical Center, where he was being treated for his injuries.

Hawaii News Now has learned the suspect has a long criminal history that included a life sentence for attempted murder in 1990. That turned into 12 years in prison. He was out on parole.

The shooting happened about 1:30 p.m. Monday. Crime Reduction Unit officers had actually been let into the home, and shouted “police!” when they entered.

In all, six officers were at the property and three of those were inside the home when the shooting happened. Ballard said the officer who was shot has six years with the force. The officer who shot at the suspect, wounding him, has 13 years with the Honolulu Police Department.

The officer who fired is on administrative leave, as is standard policy.

Police who were on the property were in plainclothes, but Ballard said they were wearing their badges and it was clear they were police officers.

She said the incident underscores the dangers officers face on the job every day.

“He actually had his weapon at the ready,” she said, referring to the suspect. “As soon as he came out of the closet, he shot at the officer.”

The identify of the police officer who was shot was not released. Honolulu Police Maj. Joseph Trinidad said he is in his 30s, and is assigned to the Waianae area.

While he’s recovering, Ballard said, “he’s still not out of the woods yet.”

Police are investigating a shooting that left an officer injured.
Police are investigating a shooting that left an officer injured.

Witness Ty Paulo, who lives nearby, said he heard yelling just before the shots were fired.

“When I heard all the sirens, all the police and fire trucks and ambulance coming, I rushed outside to see what was all the commotion," he said.

Paulo said he doesn’t know his neighbors, but said they’re “always fighting and stuff.”

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Police briefly shut down freeway on-ramps Monday afternoon as a convoy of marked police vehicles escorted the injured officer’s ambulance to the hospital.

Trinidad said two other people at the home ― a man and a woman ― have been detained. Their relationship to the suspect was not immediately known, but they were not being called suspects.

In a statement, Mayor Kirk Caldwell offered his thoughts for the officer who was shot, his family and the Honolulu Police Department.

“Our men and women in blue are the protectors of our communities and our families,” he said, in a post on Twitter. “They put on their badges every day knowing the danger that could lie ahead.”

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