Authorities identify crossbow-wielding man killed in police Big Island shootout

Authorities identify crossbow-wielding man killed in police Big Island shootout

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The wife of a Big Island man who was killed by police over the weekend said she only wanted police to make sure he was safe.

Kyra Bernhardt said she wasn't at their home at Papaaloa on Saturday when the shooting happened, she was visiting family on the mainland. However, she said she was communicating with her husband, Gene Bernhardt, right before he was shot. Plus, she said after speaking with a detective on Sunday, she doesn't believe her husband should have died.

Kyra says her husband was camping on their property when he began to feel threatened. She said he asked her to call police for help. Kyra said told a Lieutenant before the shooting Gene was not dangerous.

"I stressed, I actually stressed that he's of no harm to himself and he's no harm to others and I stressed that again, very clearly. And the lieutenant assured me he's very good at calmly people down," said Kyra.

Big Island police said they were investigating a "disturbance call" when they came across the 59-year-old wielding a loaded crossbow.

They said one officer fired several shots, resulting in his death.

Kyra said she got back from the mainland on Sunday and sat down with a detective to discuss what happened.

"Allegedly he had stopped somewhere near the crossbow, heading to bend down or lean down or some kind of downward movement, not having the bow in his hand at any time, and the officer took that as a threat, that he was gonna pick it up and he was going to use it and so he shot him," Kyra said.

Captain Randall Medeiros disputes that saying Gene did in fact have the loaded crossbow pointed at police.

Kyra says Gene often had a crossbow with him because of pigs on their property.

She says Gene spent 23 years in the Navy and he did suffer from anxiety issues.

Big Island police do not have body cameras. Kyra says this is a perfect example of why they should. The department said it is conducting an internal investigation.

Anyone with information call 935-3311.

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