Big Island police: Suspect fatally shot when he attacked officers with machete

Published: Jun. 18, 2021 at 2:23 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 5:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Big Island police fatally shot a man in Hilo on Friday after he attacked them with a machete, injuring one of the responding officers, authorities said.

The officer was taken to Hilo Medical Center in stable condition with an injury to his forearm.

The incident is the second fatal police shooting on Hawaii Island this week.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth thanked police and defended their actions, calling both police shootings “extremely rare and stark reminders of the threats that each officer faces when they step out their door and away from their families every day.”

He continued: “On both occasions, officers were attacked and their lives threatened.”

Roth also offered prayers for the suspect who died Friday, saying “no loss of life goes without grief. "

Officials said the incident Friday happened about 11:20 a.m., when Big Island patrol officers responded to a vacant home on Kilauea Avenue where a burglary alarm had gone off.

Hawaii County Police Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins said the officers secured the perimeter before entering the home. They found the last bedroom to be checked locked and heard someone inside, he said.

“They were able to breach the door ... and were immediately encountered by a man armed with a machete in one hand and a knife in the other,” Amon-Wilkins said.

“The man attacked one of the officers, who was struck in the forearm, and then two separate officers discharged their weapons.”

The man has not yet been identified.

Authorities have also not released the lengths of service for the three officers involved.

The incident comes on the heels of a police shooting Sunday that left a 34-year-old suspect dead.

In that case, the suspect fired over 30 rounds at responding officers before he was struck by return gunfire from police, officials have said.

[Related: GRAPHIC: Hawaii Island police release bodycam video from fatal officer-involved shooting]

In bodycam footage of that shooting, officers can be seen running from the home after Santos grabbed a rifle. As police retreated to their vehicles, multiple shots can be heard. In the shootout, bullets hit police vehicles and neighboring homes, but there were no additional injuries.

This story will be updated.

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