The Maui Police Department is finally dribbling out a few details concerning the Aug. 5, 2015 fatal shooting in Keopualani Park in Kahului. A few minutes ago, the MPD released a press release that provides a little new information, but many more questions.
According to the MPD, three officers (the MPD, as per their standard operating procedure, will not release their names) shot and killed a 39-year-old African-American male who allegedly shot at them with a handgun. Though the Maui PD hasn’t identified either the dead man or the cops involved in the shooting, they did release three photographs (including the one above) of a police cruiser that appears to have been hit by gunfire.
The MPD news release states that two officers first headed to the park at about 8:54pm (the park is across the street from the MPD’s headquarters) in response to a caller who warned of an “unknown male who was wearing, what appeared to be, a Law Enforcement type badge and who claimed to be a Law Enforcement Officer.” This is a curious detail, but only appears in the first paragraph of the news release.
The MPD news release then states that officers approached the male. “While speaking with him, the male became agitated and confrontational,” the news release states. “As the male walked away from the officers, he removed a handgun from his waistband, turned and began firing in the direction of the officers.”
Incredibly, the MPD states that “During the exchange of gunfire, the male positioned himself towards the front of the officer’s patrol vehicle while the two officers sought cover behind the same patrol vehicle.” It was at this point, the MPD states, that a third officer arrived and also began firing at the suspect.”
The MPD also insists that once the suspect went down, “the officers started to immediately administer lifesaving efforts.” Though medics apparently arrived later and continued rendering aid, the MPD news release states, “the male suspect eventually expired at the scene.” An autopsy is pending.
“Numerous shell casings were recovered at the scene,” the MPD states, though the department also says that “the exact amount of rounds fired by everyone involved in this incident is unknown at this time.”
The MPD will hold a press conference on the shooting at 9am tomorrow at their headquarters. Here are some of the questions we’re hoping get answered:
• What is the name of the dead man?
• What is the motive for the suspect allegedly firing at the officers?
• What are the names of the three officers involved in the shooting?
• If the department refuses to identify the officers, why will it not release their names?
• Were the officers in any past instances involving the use of deadly force?
• Have any of the three officers been disciplined by the department in the past?
• Is there any video (either from the police cruisers or the officers themselves) that show the shooting?
• Will the department release that video to the public?
• What was the “badge” allegedly worn by the suspect?
• What was the type of handgun allegedly used by the suspect?
• How many rounds did each of the officers fire, and how many struck the suspect?
Photo courtesy Maui Police Department