An off-duty police officer involved in an alleged accidental shooting was arrested Sunday.
Anson Kimura was arrested for assault in the second degree and released pending investigation.
The shooting sent a woman to the hospital early Friday morning. It happened just before 2 a.m. at the King’s Sports Bar on S. King Street.
Emergency officials said the 40-year-old woman was shot in the abdomen and taken to the hospital in critical condition.
“At this time, it appears the handgun was accidentally discharged. This case is currently classified as an assault in the second-degree and the officer’s police powers have been restricted,” said deputy chief Dave Kajihiro of the Honolulu Police Department.
The victim works at the bar. Police say she and Kimura know each other. The deputy chief said that, as far as the department knows, there was no struggle or argument involved when the Kimura’s handgun discharged.
Kajihiro said police are still investigating exactly how long Kimura was at the bar, if he was a regular customer and who he was with.
Kimura has been with the department for 25 years and works in the downtown/Chinatown area. If he is found at fault, punishment could range from written reprimand to dismissal, Kajihiro said.
HPD policy on carrying a weapon
This is not the first time an officer’s weapon has accidentally gone off.
We wanted to know why a veteran officer who’s off-duty would carry a weapon in a bar, and how likely it is to fire such a weapon accidentally.
HPD said officers are allowed to carry a weapon, even when they’re off-duty. But we’re told it is against HPD policy to carry that weapon when they are under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
“When you say under the influence, meaning if he’s had a few drinks as opposed to just having one drink?” KHON2 asked.
“Correct,” Kajihiro said.
HPD said Kimura has been tested for alcohol, but would not say if he was under the influence.
The president of the police union said Kimura is a good friend who made a bad choice.
“You’re in a bar, why are you bringing your firearm in public? And the same can be at a party or a luau or even your backyard, why?” said SHOPO president Tenari Maafala.
How do you shoot a gun by accident?
KHON2 went to the administrator of Honolulu Firearms and Range to ask how a .38-caliber revolver can be shot accidentally.
Cameron Cortez said you would need to pull or “cock” what’s known as the hammer and then pull the trigger to fire. Without pulling on the hammer, you can still fire the weapon, but it would take 10 to 12 pounds of pressure on the trigger to do that.
“In order for you to lift 10 pounds with your finger, that’s how much pressure you would need to pull, you have to exert quite a bit of pressure on the hammer itself to pull it back anyway, so… everything you do on this firearm is intentional,” said Cortez.
He says it’s surprising that anyone trained in firearms would accidentally fire such a weapon.
Those who know Kimura are just as surprised.
Past accidental shootings
There have been several other incidents over the past year in which Honolulu police officers accidentally fired their guns.
Last September, an off-duty officer accidentally fired his gun while inside the restroom at Target in Salt Lake. No one was hurt.
In August, officer Jens Magelssen died after accidentally shooting himself while showing his gun to friends at home.
Just days later, another officer’s gun went off while he was trying to make an arrest in Pearl City.
Bill targets reckless possession, discharge of firearm while intoxicated
There is a bill currently moving through the legislature that deals with law enforcement officers who are intoxicated while carrying a weapon.
Sen. Will Espero, D-Ewa Beach, says right now there are issues regarding whether an officer can be given a breath or blood test if it’s suspected that he or she is intoxicated while carrying a gun.
House Bill 888 would change that by making “it a petty misdemeanor for a person to recklessly possess and discharge a loaded firearm in a public place while the person is intoxicated.”
- Related Story: New bill takes aim at guns and drinking
“Because what I also found was that it might be unconstitutional to give somebody a breathalyzer test just because you think they’re drunk with a loaded weapon,” Espero said. “Most of the individuals who this would impact would be law enforcement officers or retired law enforcement officers.”
The bill has already passed the House. It now heads on to its third reading in the Senate.