Police seek car in Liliha shooting
Kit Lee knew something was up when she looked out the front window of the Liliha Seafood Restaurant Thursday night to see "lots and lots" of police cars with their blue lights flashing.
The restaurant, on the mauka-'ewa corner of Liliha Street and Vineyard Boulevard, had closed to customers at 9 p.m., and Lee was in the kitchen cleaning up about 25 minutes later when she heard the sirens.
"I'm too scared to go outside," said Lee, who has worked at the restaurant since coming to Hawai'i 25 years ago.
She would learn later from news reports that a 13-year-old boy had been wounded in the arm while sitting in his family's Ford Explorer.
The boy's parents told police they were heading west on Vineyard with their son and two daughters when they stopped for a red light at Liliha Street. They noticed a car was in the lane to their left, and when the light turned green, they heard a pop and noticed the Explorer's left rear window had shattered.
"I never hear the gun go off," Lee recalled yesterday.
The boy told his parents he was injured and the family pulled over just west of the intersection.
The father called police and city paramedics to the scene and they determined the boy had been shot once in the arm. Police said the boy was taken to The Queen's Medical Center and was listed in good condition upon arrival with a non-life-threatening injury.
Police yesterday were searching for the other car, possibly a white Toyota that may have turned left after the shooting and drove off in the makai direction on Liliha Street.
The parents told police they could not think of anything that may have provoked the incident.
Police yesterday said random shootings are extremely rare in Honolulu. There was speculation that perhaps even a minor traffic incident may have triggered the shooting.
Police Department crime statistics collected during the past two weeks in the general area where the shooting occurred show property thefts and car break-ins to be the primary kinds of complaints filed with police.
City Councilman Rod Tam, who grew up in the Liliha area and represents it in the council, said where the shooting occurred is a matter of coincidence.
"Vineyard is a major artery and you have a lot of outsiders passing through," Tam said. "Liliha is actually a very family-oriented, safe neighborhood to live in."
If the shooting turns out to be traffic-related, Tam offered a bit of advice.
"We all have to drive with aloha. If someone slows down to allow you to move into that lane, then wave to that other driver," he said.
"People need to embrace more aloha here. I hate to say it, but a lot of drivers here, even our local ones, are starting to have a Mainland attitude."