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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 15, 2006

Slain gunman had 23 criminal convictions

By Loren Moreno and Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writers

Flowers and plush dolls marked the area on the south side of Kaukama Road yesterday where the Wai'anae man died in a shootout with police on Saturday night.

JOAQUIN SIOPACK | The Honolulu Advertiser

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At age 19, Tracy Peters was tried in connection with the murder and robbery of a military sentry in Wai'anae. Under a plea deal, he was charged with second-degree robbery and sentenced to four years.


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The man who was fatally shot by a police officer Saturday night after firing a shotgun at officers in a Wai'anae neighborhood was an ex-convict with more than 20 criminal convictions, authorities said.

Residents of Kaukama Road in Wai'anae remained stunned yesterday after they witnessed the nearly two-hour standoff with police and the fatal shooting of Tracy Peters, 47, of the Wai'anae Coast.

The shooting happened about 8 p.m. near the intersection of Kaukama Road and Farrington Highway after Peters, wearing a black trench coat, fired gunshots into his black Dodge sedan and into the air, police said. He had fired at police with a shotgun when they first arrived on the scene, but when he pulled out two revolvers and police thought he was going to shoot at them again, an officer fired one shot that killed Peters, said Capt. Frank Fujii at the scene that night.

Nancy Hokoana of Mililani, accompanied by a woman who said she was Peters' girlfriend, placed flowers on the street yesterday where one of her best friends had been shot dead.

"What people think of him was not what I think of him," Hokoana said. She said she knew of Peters' criminal record.

"He is what he is," she said.

Friends and family at Peters' Wai'anae apartment yesterday declined to speak about the death with news media.

About 6:45 p.m. Saturday, police received phone calls reporting a man shooting a gun on Kaukama Road. When police arrived and Peters saw the officers, he fired at least twice at them, Fujii said.

Travis Salva, a 26-year-old Kaukama Road resident, watched the incident from a window in his home.

"He was shooting gunshots into the air. I was scared 'cause it was loud, man. The windows was rattling and everything," he said.

Police kept asking Peters to drop his weapon, but he kept telling police to shoot him, Salva said.

"They said they wasn't going to do that. ... They were trying to reason with him," he said. "He was telling the first cop, 'Eh, I know you're the sharpshooter, so shoot me between the eyes.' "

Police again asked Peters to put down his weapon, Salva said.

Peters also was yelling that "people ratted him out" and that he didn't want to go back to jail, Salva said.

Salva said family members, including Peters' ex-wife, also were on the scene calling out to him to put down his weapon.

Two or three times, Peters coasted his car down the street and would get out and get back in. Each time he got out, he fired a shotgun, Fujii said.

"He fired the shotgun multiple times. We believe that when he ran out of rounds ... that's when he put the shotgun down, and went to his waistband," Fujii said.

Peters crossed his arms in front of him, pulled two snub-nose revolvers from his waistband and pointed them at the police officers, Fujii said. That's when an officer fired one shot, killing Peters.

Fujii said the officer was justified in firing at Peters.

"He was shooting at people already. And at the time he raised his handguns and pointed them in the direction of the officer, the officer has every right to protect himself," Fujii said.

It has not been determined how many times Peters fired the shotgun, but residents yesterday said they heard at least six shots.

The officer involved, a 15-year veteran, has been put on administrative leave in accordance with police policy following a fatal shooting, Fujii said.

According to Hawai'i criminal records, Peters had 23 criminal convictions. He was charged in July 1977, along with Kenneth Smith, in the murder and robbery of Army Spc. 4 James Lee Veal, a military sentry at the Wai'anae Army Rest Center.

Peters, 19 at the time, struck a plea agreement that allowed him to testify against Smith in exchange for a reduced charge of second-degree robbery. He was sentenced under the Youth Offenders Act to a four-year prison term.

In 1984, he was found guilty of assault and reckless endangerment and served another prison term for shooting his 22-year-old girlfriend in the knee on New Year's Day. Other convictions involved firearm violations, assaults and drug possession.

Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com and Will Hoover at whoover@honoluluadvertiser.com.