Services for Big Island officer killed in line of duty to be held at Hilo Civic Auditorium

MOUNTAIN VIEW, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - He was one of a kind.

That's how just about anyone who knew Officer Bronson K. Kaliloa describes him.

Kaliloa's shooting threw Big Island officers and the larger community into mourning. At a news conference Wednesday, Big Island Police Chief Paul Ferreira's voice cracked several times as he struggled to hold back tears.

"This has been the worst event of my career," Ferreira said, speaking to reporters. He added, "We will persevere."

Ferreira said Kaliloa leaves behind three young children, a wife and parents. He also leaves behind a legacy of service to the community.

SERVICES PLANNED:

Funeral services for Kaliloa have been set for Aug. 4 at the Hilo Civic Auditorium.
Visitation is set for 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by a service from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Big Island Police Maj. Samuel Jelsma said Kaliloa grew up on Kauai, working on sugar plantations and macadamia groves.

As a child, Jelsma said, Kaliloa learned the meaning of hard work.

Hurricane Iniki displaced him and his family, and they moved to Oahu. That's where he got a job as a city bus driver — a job he held for 13 years.

In the years that followed, Kaliloa would go on to meet his future wife, fall in love and move to the Big Island.

He wanted a quieter lifestyle. And he wanted to start a family.

Kaliloa, a 1990 graduate of Waimea High, joined the Hawaii Police Department in 2008, and transferred to the Puna district two years later.

In 2014, he was honored as the district's "officer of the year."

"If I would use one term to describe Bronson, it would be 'professional,'" said Jelsma, who served as Kaliloa's district commander in Puna.

"Anybody that met him, whether it be a fellow officer or member of the public ... he would come across as being professional. His talk, his action. He was a team player."

On Thursday, a makeshift memorial at the Hilo police station continued to grow while flags flew at half staff to honor Kaliloa.

Big Island officers wore a black stripe across their badge, marking the death of one of their own in the line of duty.

"I know the officers, you can see it on their faces, they are grieving privately," Jelsma said. "But at the same time, they know they have a job to do. Obviously, we still got some unfinished business to take care of."

Jelsma added that Kaliloa had an impeccable record of service.

"Bronson, job well done," Kaliloa said. "You look back on your 10-year career and I don't think anybody has anything bad to say about you, even people you've arrested. You've earned their respect as well."

In a statement, Gov. David Ige offered his condolences to the Kaliloa family, saying the highly-regarded officer will be missed.

"As we mourn this tragic loss, let us honor Officer Kaliloa and all men and women in blue for their bravery and commitment to keeping our families and communities safe," Ige said.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim told Hawaii News that Kaliloa's death was heartwrenching.

"Sadness overwhelms me," Kim said. "I feel sad for his family, his wife, his children. And the one word that comes to mind — why? Why are we becoming a country and people of violence."

The last Big Island officer to die in the line of duty was Kenneth Keliipio, who was killed in 1997. Keliipio was fatally struck by a police cruiser driven by an off-duty officer.

In 1990, Big Island Officer Ronald Jitchaku was killed while trying to break up a fight.

Since 1918, 58 police officers in Hawaii have died in the line of duty.

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