Man shot on Tantalus may have had death wish, mom says
By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer
The mother of a man who was shot and critically wounded by an FBI agent Sunday afternoon on Tantalus Drive said yesterday that her son may have wanted law enforcement officers to shoot him so he could avoid killing himself.
Ute Boegel said her son, Martin, 27, had talked to her several times about killing himself since he stopped taking medicine for anxiety and depression in January.
"He told me that if he died, God and Jesus would be at the gates of heaven to let him in," Ute Boegel said. "I told him if he did that, there would be a group of people to meet him at the gates, but it wouldn't be God and Jesus, but some other people, and they wouldn't be taking him to heaven."
An off-duty FBI agent shot Martin about 1 p.m. after he reportedly walked aggressively toward the agent and refused to drop the weapon he was carrying.
Investigators now say Martin had a nonlethal, "airsoft" replica gun, which shoots plastic BBs and not real bullets.
Airsoft guns are often designed as identical copies of their lethal counterparts and look real — especially if a bright orange ring at the tip of the barrel is pulled off or painted over.
Ute believes her son never owned a real gun. She did not see the airsoft gun, but described it as a "toy."
"My son always volunteered at church. He is a very loving person, not a violent person," Boegel said. "He is ill now, his brain is out of order. Some people need medication, and he is one of them."
'OUT OF CONTROL'
Boegel said her son stopped taking the medicine in January because the insurance company, which she would not identify, would no longer pay the $90 monthly cost for the prescription drugs.
She didn't notice any changes at first, but then Martin began to rapidly lose weight.
"He got very thin and, over the past month or two, his anxiety escalated," Ute said. "He seemed more nervous and out of control, and he began talking to himself."
Martin had been out on $100 bail on charges of impersonating a police officer in the second degree, a misdemeanor, after he was arrested by University of Hawai'i campus security officers on May 4.
UH officials issued a campuswide security alert after Martin allegedly posed as a police officer on campus May 1 and May 2.
The man wanted by UH officials carried fake identification, wore a jacket with the word "police" on it and claimed to be a Honolulu police officer at UH's Maile Way entrance gate, UH spokesman Gregg Takayama said.
Martin told his mother that he bought a blue jacket with the word "police" on it at a satellite city hall store, Ute said.
Martin told his mother that he asked to use a UH restroom — and was told he could — when "a young girl overreacted and called police."
"He told me he was not impersonating a police officer and expected to be found innocent if it went to trial," Ute said.
On Sunday, Martin woke early and left their Thurston Avenue apartment in Makiki in his white Ford truck without telling his mother where he was going.
When Ute returned home from church, she walked into the apartment they had shared for the past 22 years and found it ransacked.
"I think it was his way of calling out for attention," Ute said.
Much later Sunday afternoon, two police officers came to Ute's door and said Martin had been involved in an incident and was being treated at The Queen's Medical Center.
At the hospital, two police officers were stationed outside his door and Ute had to wait two hours to see him.
"He was sedated," she said. "He had been wounded in the shoulder and the arm, but the doctor told me none of his vital organs were hit."
The doctors at Queen's have told her Martin will undergo a complete psychiatric evaluation, with the goal of helping him get back on track.
"I've never had anything like this happen to me," Ute said. "Maybe things had to get to this point in order for them to help him. He just needs the right kind of help. I can't give that to him. I'm just a mom, not a doctor."
Before Sunday, Ute said, she had exhausted the telephone listings looking for a doctor to help her son.
"The line was always the same: 'We don't take your insurance,' or, 'We don't take new patients,' " Ute said.
LEANING ON FAITH
Ute is strongly religious and said her faith has helped her since the shooting.
She likes to think that she has had two jobs over the past 20 years: One was running a licensed childcare facility out of the apartment she shared with Martin; the other was taking care of Martin.
"He has a degree in criminology from HCC (Honolulu Community College) and a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Hawai'i," Ute said.
Martin talked about becoming a police officer, did volunteer work at the state attorney general's office and even worked there part time for a few months, but never really had a steady job.
Ute now believes his unsteady work was probably due to long-standing mental health issues. She left upstate New York in 1981 to escape an abusive marriage, and Martin was born in Hawai'i several months later.
"Even when he was a little boy, he had a lot of energy," Ute said. "I raised him by myself and never had any help. I wanted to take him to ball games, but I didn't have a car. But he was always loved, and he always had his own room."
FBI INQUIRY LAUNCHED
The FBI yesterday said a three-person investigative unit from the FBI's headquarters in Washington, D.C., was scheduled to arrive in Honolulu yesterday afternoon to conduct a review of the shooting.
Special Agent Thomas Simon of the FBI's Honolulu office said the review by the Shooting Incident Response Team is standard FBI policy in instances where deadly force is used.
The FBI team will meet with Honolulu police, review their incident reports and possibly interview witnesses, Simon said.
"We expect that this review will be completed by Friday," Simon said in a statement. "The SIRT will take their findings back to ... Washington, D.C., where they will be presented to the FBI's Shooting Incident Review Group for a final determination of whether this shooting was in compliance with the FBI's deadly force policy."