HONOLULU — A Honolulu police officer was directly behind a car when he fired 10 shots at the back of the driver’s seat during a shooting last month that killed a teen who authorities say was a suspect in a series of violent crimes, according to body camera footage obtained by Hawaii News Now.
After the April 5 shooting, Chief Susan Ballard told reporters that police believe the Honda had rammed two marked police cars during a pursuit. But that’s not clear from the footage Hawaii News Now aired.
The officer wearing the camera was a passenger in a patrol car and shouted several times during the pursuit, “stop the vehicle.” Police sirens blared in the background.
The Honolulu Police Department has refused to release body camera footage because there were other minors in the car. No faces can be seen in the footage obtained by the Honolulu news station, which didn’t indicate how it got the video.
Iremamber Sykap, 16, was driving the stolen Honda linked to a burglary, purse snatching, car theft and armed robbery, and led officers on the chase, police said.
When the Honda stopped, an officer got out of a squad car and appeared to drop his rifle on the ground before picking it up and putting it back inside the car, Hawaii News Now reported.
He then moved behind the Honda as other officers yelled, “get on the ground” and “police.” The officer was directly behind the Honda when he fired 10 shots at the back of the driver’s seat and the Honda accelerated.
The video shows another officer approaching the Honda from the passenger side when the first officer fired. The second officer jumped back with his gun drawn then fell by the side of the moving Honda and fires several times as it takes off. The car then crashed through a fence into a canal.
Retired federal agent Tommy Aiu told Hawaii News Now that even if the Honda was not moving there was still a threat to officers.
“I believe more likely than not the imminent threat exists because of the fact that they just came from a serious crime, involving a home invasion. An armed home invasion and now we’re in a hot pursuit,” Aiu said. “Even though the vehicle stopped, the engine was running.”
The Honolulu prosecutor’s office is investigating the shooting, along with one on April 14 that killed a 29-year-old man from South Africa.
If the investigation concludes a shooting was justified, Prosecutor Steve Alm said he will release evidence in the case, including body camera footage, “with appropriate redactions to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.”