Suspect fatally shot by HPD officer in Waimalu identified as Pearl City man
WAIMALU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Medical Examiner's office has identified the robbery suspect who was shot and killed by a police officer in Waimalu Tuesday as Herbden Gabriel, 46, of Pearl City.
Hawaii News Now stopped by Gabriel's Noelani Street home Wednesday. His family declined comment.
Gabriel allegedly stole a cell phone from a massage parlor before he was gunned down. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.
Security guard Wilfred Yee called 911 and watched as the drama came to a bloody end on the street behind Waimalu Shopping Center.
"I called them. Shots fired. Police involved," he said.
It all began at Pukana La Massage Therapy. A gunman, identified as Herbden Gabriel, 46, allegedly demanded money from the business owner, but failed to get any and left with just a cell phone.
Police say an officer working special duty at a nearby construction site caught up with Gabriel on Kauwa Street and ordered him multiple times to drop his handgun.
"He was rampaging," Yee said. "He had his arms up in the air with the one hand on his gun. When he actually came down a little bit with his gun, the police officer shot him twice."
Police chief Louis Kealoha says officers are trained to shoot the largest target on the body.
"The center mass, right in the torso," Kealoha said.
There have been three officer-involved shootings so far this year. That matches the total for all of 2010. There were seven in 2009, and eight back in 1998 -- Lee Donohue's first year as chief of police.
"Some in the public say why didn't you shoot him in the leg, why didn't you shoot the gun out of his hand," Donohue said. "We're not going to be playing because you've only got milliseconds that you're dealing with your own life, your own safety, and the safety of others."
Donohue says the objective is not to shoot to kill, it's to use whatever force is necessary to stop the threat. Officers do have non-lethal weapons, such as tasers and batons. However...
"Would it have been realistic for him to pull out a taser in that case?" this reporter asked.
"No, no, no," Donohue replied. "You don't bring a knife to a gun fight. A person pulls a gun, we have to respond appropriately."
The robbery victim declined an interview Wednesday. But she did talk to Yee, who shares what she said.
"Thank you for worrying about her, but she was worried that no one else got hurt, too," Yee said. "She was really shaken up."
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