Sources in the Honolulu Police Department tell KHON2 that Wednesday night’s BB gun shooting is probably not related to a rash of other BB gun shootings in recent weeks.
The shooting, which occurred at around 5 p.m. on Farrington Highway, just outside Waipahu Intermediate School, sent a 13-year-old boy to the hospital.
According to sources, police have already identified the suspects involved in that case.
But the question remains, who’s responsible for the other shootings, and does the media hurt or help the investigation?
The department has remained quiet about the investigations, arguing that anything else will give the shooter undeserved attention.
Two shootings occurred early Wednesday morning, one at a Pearl City convenience store and the other in a Waipahu parking lot. The back windshield of Sally Labrador’s car was cracked.
On Saturday, a tour bus with about 20 passengers was shot at while driving on the freeway, shattering a window and injuring a woman.
HPD says there have been about a dozen reported shootings since last month.
A psychiatrist tells KHON2 the suspect is likely a vandal looking for attention, someone who wants the publicity and isn’t giving much thought to the harm caused.
“If this is a solo shooter, I still think the issues are being a vandal or being an outrage, and causing a big stir and getting publicity out of it is probably a primary motivation,” said Dr. Marvin Acklin.
Acklin said the suspect is not necessarily a teenager, and could be an adult with adolescent tendencies, who’s not necessarily trying to hurt people.
“There’s probably a gleeful rebelliousness about it. There’s a thoughtlessness here about the potential harm or unintended consequences,” Acklin said.
So is it wrong to give the suspect the publicity if that is what he or she is after?
Ken Lawson, a professor at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law, says in this case, the good outweighs the bad.
“If you do give publicity to the shootings, the likelihood of catching the suspect goes dramatically up, because the public is very attentive once they know what to look for,” he said.
Lawson describes the BB gun suspects as serial criminals, and some of the most notorious have been caught with help from the public. So, he says, it’s helpful for police to get information out to the media.
“We have seen through the past that the media is extremely helpful with the public’s help in capturing these individuals, but in order for us to be of assistance, you’ve got to tell us what’s going on,” Lawson said.
HPD has not released a description of any suspects.
A security guard who saw the shooting in Waipahu described the getaway car as a dark four-door sedan.