Honolulu police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Waipahu that occurred early Friday morning.
The incident began at around 1:30 a.m., when officers were notified of a stolen vehicle in the Tantalus area, a Chrysler Town and Country van.
Police saw the vehicle get on the H-1 Freeway, and tracked it down to Kuhaulua Street in Waipahu.
At 2 a.m., police say officers approached the van and ordered the driver, a 19-year-old man, to turn off the car.
“Instead of complying, the driver reversed the vehicle, hit an officer and another police vehicle while he was attempting to flee the area,” said HPD Chief Susan Ballard. “The officer who was hit, and the second officer fired at the driver, striking him.”
Police say three bullets were fired, two of which hit the driver. The 19-year-old was hospitalized in critical condition with wounds to his head and chest. Ballard says he went into surgery, and police have no update on his condition.
The man will eventually be arrested for first-degree attempted murder. Ballard says he has prior convictions for burglary, first-degree criminal property damage, and auto theft.
“There was five of them, but four of them was laying on the ground over there, and one was shot,” said Kimreen Mateus as she described the scene.
Rio Lucas heard several gunshots outside of his window.
“The streets was flooded with cops from here, all the way down, and that’s when the yellow tapes came in. Oh, this is something serious,” Lucas said.
Police say four other men were in the van at the time. Further investigation revealed that the van was stolen during a burglary.
“At that time, we only knew it was an auto theft, but further investigation since then, we’ve discovered there was a burglary as well, and there was some personal information that was taken out of the house,” Ballard said.
All four passengers were arrested for second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.
One man was also arrested for first-degree burglary and for having confidential personal information. Another was arrested for third-degree promotion of detrimental drugs. Ballard says police believe it’s marijuana, but it has not been tested.
The officer that was struck was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He has been an officer for 26 years and works as a patrol officer in Pearl City, District 3.
Following Honolulu police policy, both officers who discharged their weapons have been placed on paid leave while an administrative review is conducted.
“Maybe some of these people feel that they don’t have anything to lose. They just don’t want to listen to what the officers have to say, so it is quite disconcerting for us that an officer has to discharge their weapon, twice in one month,” Ballard said. “So we implore people that if the officer gives you direction, please listen. We don’t like to do this, especially like in this case where there’s 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 to the officer as well as the family and the community, and we just don’t like to see that.”