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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 11:09 a.m., Friday, October 18, 2002

Police eye suspect in Lagoon Drive case

By Scott Ishikawa
and Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writers

Police today are checking out a "potential suspect" based on evidence recovered last night on Lagoon Drive, where a sheriff's deputy fired three shots at a stolen car that sped through a security checkpoint.

Two deputies, ages 30 and 40, were treated for minor injuries. The suspect car, which has not yet been found, is a 2000 Daewoo sedan that was reported stolen on Oct. 3, said Maj. Darryl Perry of the Honolulu Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division.

Perry confirmed evidence was recovered but would not say what it was.

Herman Moore, chief internal affairs investigator for the state Department of Public Safety, said one deputy has been placed on temporary administrative leave. Police are conducting the criminal investigation and have classified the case as an attempted murder.

Both Moore and Perry confirmed that one of the deputies fired all three shots at the on-coming vehicle.

The checkpoint, along with increased security along Lagoon Drive leading to the south ramp of the airport, has been in place since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said state Transportation Department spokeswoman Marilyn Kali.

Airport flight operations were not affected by the 6:30 p.m. incident, Kali said.

The deputy fired three shots at the car shortly before 6:30 p.m. at the Lagoon Drive checkpoint near Kalewa Street, Kali said.

"We're just relieved that our men were not seriously injured in this incident," said Ted Sakai, director of the state Department of Public Safety.

Kali said the deputies stopped the driver at the checkpoint and asked where he was going. The road leads to air cargo businesses and private aircraft operations, but is not near commercial airline operations.

"The man appeared very nervous, so one of the deputies ran a check on the vehicle's license plate, which showed the car to be reportedly stolen," Kali said.

The deputies asked the man to get out of the car, but he drove forward, made a quick U-turn and sped through the checkpoint, as both sheriffs tried to get out of the way. The car grazed one of the sheriffs, and both men opened fire on the vehicle as it sped off, Kali said.

Both deputies were taken to The Queen's Medical Center in stable condition and were expected to be released last night, said Emergency Medical Services district chief Robert Pedro.

Pedro said both men reported "getting knocked down" as the car sped by the checkpoint.

Lagoon Drive heading down to the airport south ramp was closed for about two hours while authorities investigated the scene. Heavily armed sheriffs with rifles blocked off the road leading to businesses until 9:30 p.m.