Hawaii police investigating discharge of officer's gun during theft case

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Aug. 28—Hawaii island police are investigating an incident that occurred Thursday in Kailua-Kona involving the discharge of a weapon by an on-duty officer while trying to arrest theft suspects.

Officers from the Area II Vice Section were conducting operations at a business establishment in the 73-5000 block of Olowalu Street shortly after 5 :20 p.m. when they observed several people exiting the business with a large quantity of expensive items, according to a Hawaii Police Department news release. The individuals appeared to be trying to quickly load the items into a vehicle and leave the area, the release said.

As officers approached the vehicle and identified themselves as police officers, the driver of the vehicle abruptly reversed in an attempt to flee the area, the release said. Officers ran after the vehicle, which stopped, and as officers again identified themselves and attempted to remove the suspects from the vehicle, one of the officers service weapon was discharged, police said.

All occupants were removed from the vehicle and subsequently arrested for theft. None of the officers or suspects were injured during the confrontation with the vehicle or from the weapon discharge, the release said.

The officer who discharged his weapon is seven-year veteran of the Hawaii Police Department. As is standard procedure, the officer was placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the administrative investigation, according to the release.

Detectives from the Office of Professional Standards also are conducting an independent administrative investigation as the result of the weapon discharge.

Police are asking anyone who may have seen the incident or may have any other information to call Detective Sheldon Nakamoto at 808-326-4646 ext. 228 or email Sheldon.Nakamoto @hawaiicounty.gov.