Officers fatally shoot man who opened fire on them during foot chase in Kalihi

Published: Dec. 17, 2019 at 5:37 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2019 at 5:39 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four officers shot and killed a man who opened fire on them during a dramatic foot chase in Kalihi on Monday morning that sent bystanders ducking for cover.

The chase ended at a car dealership, the New City Nissan on North King Street, where witnesses counted nearly 20 gunshots as police and the suspect exchanged gunfire.

When the gunfire stopped, glass windows at the car dealership were shattered, cars were damaged, and dozens of onlookers were shaken ― but otherwise OK.

Police Chief Susan Ballard said the melee actually began with a police chase in Pearl City an hour earlier. Officers responded to the area after a report of suspicious people wearing ski masks in a car.

No officers were injured in the shooting, but Ballard said the four who discharged their weapons are on administrative leave as is standard procedure. They have between six and 20 years of service.

HPD disucusses Kalihi shooting

#LIVE: Police Chief Susan Ballard is discussing the latest officer-involved shooting that left a suspect dead in Kalihi. #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Monday, December 16, 2019

Witnesses said when the gunfire erupted at New City Nissan, the lot was full of customers and workers.

Karen Fisk captured the final moments of the police chase that ended outside the car dealership, where she works. Crouched behind a pillar, she warned coworkers to take cover.

“Get down!” she yelled.

Across the street, some construction workers had a different view.

“They came around the corner and then we seen a guy hobbling. Look like maybe he took one to the leg or something," said witness Kawehi Cliff.

Video of those moments capture one bystander yelling, “Shootout! Shootout!”

The suspect who died was initially taken to The Queen’s Medical Center in critical condition. His identity has not yet been released.

Ballard said police first started pursuing the suspect about 10 a.m. after a caller reported two suspicious people wearing ski masks in a car at the Pearl City Sam’s parking lot.

Police responded to the lot and ordered the two suspects to get out of the car. But the driver fled with his passenger, ramming an officer’s unmarked vehicle in the process.

A chase ensued, but it was called off because the suspect was driving erratically.

The passenger in that vehicle was later dropped off, and police brought him in for questioning. Ballard said he was released pending investigation later in the day.

A police helicopter, meanwhile, located the first suspect in Kalihi. He abandoned his vehicle on North King Street for some reason and fled on foot, Ballard said.

At one point, she said, “he fell to the ground and opened fire.”

Officers returned fire, and then the suspect made another break for it, running toward the car dealership. “The suspect then turned and pointed his gun at officers,” Ballard said.

That’s when officers fatally shot the suspect.

It’s the eighth officer-involved shooting so far this year, four of which have been fatal. Last year, there were 12 officer-involved shootings ― six fatal.

But the crime spree also comes amid an uptick in flagrant crimes involving guns, from robberies to violent purse snatchings. The police chief said it’s not clear if the suspect is linked to any of those, but did urge residents to remain vigilant and expressed frustration about the spate of high-profiled crime.

“This is getting nuts," she said.

She added the suspect has felony convictions on his record, and was also wanted in the federal system.

The shooting comes less than a week after a separate officer-involved shooting in Waimalu.

In that incident last Wednesday, police shot at Troy Salas after he allegedly tried to run down an officer during a confrontation.

The 23-year-old is charged with terroristic threatening, and a judge confirmed his bail Monday at $50,000.

This story will be updated.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.