Prosecutor: 2021 police shooting that left suspect dead was justified

“HPD did everything right here. Mr. Ventura was the cause of his own death.”
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:56 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 8:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - City Prosecutor Steve Alm said Thursday that the use of deadly force during a barricade situation last year in Kakaako was justified.

The decision means the officer who fired on the suspect won’t face charges.

The shooting happened Aug. 27, 2021, on Kawaiahao Street.

The barricade suspect, 33-year-old Brandon Ventura, was fatally shot after he pointed his gun at police.

“He ignored repeated commands to drop his gun,” Alm said, at the news conference. “The use of deadly force which resulted in Mr. Ventura’s death was justified” in order to protect other officers.

Alm said the situation started about 1:40 p.m., when Ventura called police ― distraught after breaking up with his girlfriend. A roommate told HPD the 33-year-old had been using drugs that week.

As more officers responded, HPD made contact with Ventura inside his 15th-floor apartment.

Alm said they tried to negotiate with him.

“After repeated attempts by HPD officers to engage him, trying to help him, offering assistance, Mr. Ventura said, ‘You can help me.’ When asked how, he said, ‘By shooting me. Fire on me or I’ll fire on you.’”

The standoff dragged on for several more hours.

SWAT team members were called and and Ventura eventually stepped out of his apartment with his gun to his head. Authorities initially shot him with a non-lethal bean bag. Alm said one officer struggled with Ventura until the gun was pointed at him, Alm said. That’s when another officer fire, fatally shooting Ventura in the head.

“They put themselves in danger and tried to grab his hand that was holding the gun and take it away from him,” Alm said. “HPD did everything right here. Mr. Ventura was the cause of his own death.”

Attorney Eric Seitz, who has sued over police shootings, agreed that officers are justified in using deadly force when their lives are in danger.

“If the facts bear that out, and that’s what the shooting panel or Prosecutor’s Office has found, then so be it. That’s what the state of the law allows for,” he said.

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