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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, October 18, 2002

Deputies fire on car at airport checkpoint

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

shooting map

State sheriff deputies fired shots last night at a car that sped through a security checkpoint on Lagoon Drive at the east end of Honolulu International Airport, injuring the two officers.

The car and an unknown number of occupants got away. The car had been reported as stolen.

Airport flight operations were not affected, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali said.

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

The deputies, ages 30 and 49, suffered cuts and bruises, but were not seriously hurt, paramedics 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. "We will be working with Honolulu police in tracking down the suspect or suspects."

Both deputies were placed on administrative leave with pay until an investigation is completed, Sakai said. That is standard procedure when a law enforcement officer fires a weapon.

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, Kali said.

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.

"The two were shaken up, but they walked into the ambulance on their own power, and out of the vehicle to the emergency room," Pedro said. "We took them by ambulance to the hospital just as a precaution."

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 such as FedEx and UPS, stranding tenants inside and delivery trucks outside near Ke'ehi Lagoon Park. The road reopened at 9:30 p.m.

Kali said Lagoon Drive is secured during the evenings as part of enhanced airport security.