Suspect accused of trying to run over officer arrested in Waianae

Honolulu police have arrested a suspect accused of trying to kill officers in Waianae.

On Jan. 10, at around noon, officers found John Kamaka Jr., 29, at Waianae Boat Harbor and arrested him for first-degree attempted murder.

The incident occurred on Sunday, Jan. 7, at around 9:55 p.m. Neighbors say it started with a fight inside a home.

“I heard these kids grumbling and stuff. They was coming at each other, one had a knife, whatever. After it happened, the guy jumped into the van,” said Peter Akana.

Police say three patrol officers responded to a call on Ala Akau Street of a man in a white van armed with two knives. They ordered the man to get out, but he refused.

“They blocked off this road so he couldn’t get out, but he went through the fence, the wire, across and out, and we was like, where did he go?” Akana said.

Police say Kamaka rammed his vehicle into a police car, then reversed into another police car before speeding straight at the officers as they scrambled out of the way.

“One of the officers, fearing for the life of her fellow officer, took a shot at the vehicle, discharged their firearm,” said Deputy Chief John McCarthy, Honolulu Police Department. “It’s not like he tried to flee and did all that damage in the process. He directed his aggression toward the police officers and drove directly at them, placing their lives in danger.”

Police recovered the van not far from the scene, but Kamaka had already fled.

McCarthy says no one was hurt, and “there was never anyone in danger by her shooting, other than the person she was attempting to shoot at.”

“I can tell you it’s scary,” McCarthy said. “Someone is driving a van at you, intending to hit you. I would think that’s a life-or-death situation. Either you’re going to avoid them or get killed by the van. It’s a 4,000-pound weapon, so it’s harrowing. It’s something that we’re seeing on a more frequent (basis).”

Police say attacks on law enforcement officers are becoming more common nowadays.

“It used to be somewhat more rare in the old days, and by the old days, I don’t mean that old, but it seems to be a more common occurrence,” McCarthy said.

The van was not reported stolen and, with vehicle registration transfer pending, did not have a current registered owner.

“When they’re used in crimes like this, it’s very difficult for us to find and locate (a suspect),” McCarthy said. “Say if we didn’t catch him and we go back to the original owner, we get the story, ‘I sold it to my friend.’ ‘What’s your friend’s name?’ (We) get a first name, (but) he sold it to somebody else. So it does create a problem for us.”

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