Criminal investigation into fatal shooting at Boy Scouts camp hits roadblock

Officials said the 11-year-old died of a single gunshot wound at Camp Honokaia.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:47 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office has declared a conflict of interest in the criminal investigation into the death of an 11-year old who was fatally shoot at a Boy Scouts camp near Honokaa in August.

The Prosecutor’s Office confirms they notified the state Attorney General’s office last week that staff and their family members were at the rifle range the day of the accidental shooting of Manuel Carvalho and are considered witnesses.

The state Attorney General’s office will now have to decide if they will keep the criminal investigation or send it to another county agency for review.

Court docs: AK-47 used in accidental shooting death of child at Hawaii Boy Scouts camp

Carvalho was shot when another boy, who police said was unsupervised, picked up a loaded AK-47 semi automatic rifle at the range. When the boy set the gun back down, it went off and the bullet struck Carvalho in the head.

Police said they referred 23 firearms-related offenses against three men who were at the scene.

Among those offenses ― negligent storage of a firearm, a misdemeanor crime. All 23 offenses appear to be for alleged gun crimes at the range, mostly unrelated to the accidental shooting death.

Legal expert Victor Bakke, who was a deputy prosecutor before becoming a defense attorney, said he does not anticipate criminal charges.

“State law does allow a minor under the age of 16 to shoot a firearm as long as they’re doing hunting or target practice,” Bakke said, adding there has to be reckless behavior to warrant felony crimes.

“Accidents unfortunately do happen,” Bakke said.

The Carvalho family indicated in court filings they want more information to help understand the events that unfolded.

The court filings include subpoenas served on the police department seeking unredacted police reports, autopsy records, body camera videos and dispatch transmissions that include 911 calls.

A civil case against the Boy Scouts appears likely given the family’s requests.

“That’s a much lower standard than what is required to charge somebody criminally, especially at a gun range,” Bakke said.

Attorney Mark Gallagher has filed multiple lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America in sex abuse cases.

“One of the big problems has been a lack of appropriate supervision and that really seems to be problem no. 1 here,” Gallagher said.

A hearing is set for Wednesday on the request for records by Carvalho’s family.

HNN did reach out to the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council for comment, and was referred to the national organization public affairs team.