‘It doesn’t feel safe’: Flurry of violent crimes leave Maui residents reeling
WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two shootings in two days and three murder cases in the past three months are leaving Maui residents ― unaccustomed to violent crime ― on edge.
Five people linked to violent crimes were arrested in two days on the Valley Isle.
“What’s concerning is that these crimes involve the use of firearms,” said Maui Police Department Assistant Chief Reid Pursley.
On Tuesday, MPD’s Special Response Team deployed to Haiku after a man was shot off Kahiapo Place. The incident spurred an evacuation of nearby residents and an hours-long manhunt.
Officers arrested Brian McKeague, 36, at the Kahului Airport on Tuesday afternoon trying to leave the island.
Just the day before, 55-year-old Shawn Medeiros was arrested for allegedly firing multiple rounds from an AR-15 into a home in Haiku and then leading officers on a dramatic chase.
“I’m scared and frustrated, and it’s hard to watch our community change,” said Haiku resident Nara Boone.
Police see a common thread in the recent violence.
“Unfortunately, drug abuse and chemical dependency are playing a huge, huge role in the violent crime that we do encounter,” Pursley said. “You combine that with the amount of firearms that are out there, that make for a disastrous combination. You know, just this year alone, we’ve already seized 184 firearms.”
Also, 28-year-olds Brandon Sanchez and Shai Gonsalves were arrested Monday for kidnapping, robbery, and terroristic threatening. Investigators say Sanchez pointed a gun at a 22-year-old female walking down Front Street in Lahaina and demanded all her belongings.
Longtime residents say the crimes show how Maui has changed.
“We would roller skate, we’d ride our bikes, it doesn’t feel safe to do those kinds of things anymore,” Boone said. “My kids are afraid to walk on the roads now. It’s a different, different environment.”
MPD says they are ramping up enforcement the best they can and cracking down on drugs and firearms.
“The best way to help our community there is to serve it. So, I mean, it should be no surprise to hear that we’re hiring,” said Pursley. “That’s the biggest impact is to is to make a difference in the community.”
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