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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 7:31 p.m., Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Two officers hurt, suspect critically injured in H-2 shootings

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two Honolulu police officers were shot and wounded, but returned fire and wounded a suspect in an H-2 freeway gun battle after a routine traffic stop late this afternoon.

The wounded officers were taken by helicopter to The Queen's Medical Center. A wounded adult male suspect was alive but in critical condition and scheduled for surgery this evening.

The suspects were in a white van that was stopped northbound on the freeway shortly before 5 p.m. by two solo bike officers and a detective in an unmarked police car, Assistant Chief Rafael Fajardo said. The officers had pulled the van over into the median area.

A struggle ensued between police and one of the suspects when another suspect pulled out a shotgun. Emergency medical services field supervisor Mandy Shiraki said one officer was hit in the hand and had most of his hand shot off; the other officer had pellet wounds to his right side and face. Both were wearing bulletproof vests.

The wounded suspect was taken to The Pali Momi Medical Center. The officers were both in stable condition at The Queen's Medical Center, Fajardo told reporters at the hospital.

"They're both okay," he said.

Two suspects were arrested and were in custody tonight at the Pearl City police station. Police mounted a search with dogs and a helicopter for a third suspect, a female, who may have run mauka into the wooded area above the freeway on the Waianae side, police said.

A hospital spokeswoman said she expected no change in the officers' condition over night.

Police Chief Lee Donohue went to the scene to oversee the investigation.

Police closed all southbound and one of four northbound lanes of the freeway near Ka Uka Boulevard. Commuters took two hours to make what is normally a 45-minute drive from town to Mililani at about 4:30 p.m., one motorist said.