Police shoot teen driver who struck officer with stolen van
WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police shot a teen in Waipahu early Friday morning after they say he struck an officer with a stolen van.
Police were called to a report of a stolen van in the Tantalus area around 1:30 a.m. As they were responding, they saw the vehicle fleeing the area. Minutes later, it was spotted in Waipahu.
Police swarmed Kuhaulua Street around 2:00 a.m. near Jack Hall Housing after the van that was reported stolen was discovered.
HPD officials say there were a total of five men in the van.
They ordered the 19-year-old driver to turn it off, but he did not.
"When he was trying to flee the area…he reversed the car straight into the officer," said Police Chief Susan Ballard.
Two officers fired a total of three shots, wounding the teen driver in the head and the chest.
He was taken to the hospital in critical condition and one officer was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
"Because he was wearing his vest, we feel that the vest actually protected the officer in this particular case from any further serious injuries," Chief Ballard said.
Police have declined to name the driver but said they arrested four others who were the stolen vehicle with him. They are between the ages of 18 and 30 years old and potential charges include vehicle theft, drugs, and burglary.
"At that time, we only knew it was an auto theft. But from further investigations…we've discovered there was a burglary as well and there was some personal information that was taken out of the house," said Chief Ballard.
Police say the 19-year-old driver has three prior felony convictions which include car theft, criminal property damage and burglary.
The two officers who fired their guns have been been placed on leave per department policy.
The injured policeman is a patrol officer with 26 years of service.
"We don't like to do this. Especially like in this case where there is critical injury…that's why we put the officers on administrative leave because when you shoot somebody and possibly take somebody's life, it's devastating," the chief said.
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