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Police Open Fire on Fleeing Suspect in Wailuku

On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at approximately 12:32 a.m. in Wailuku, officers initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle; due to no illuminated rear lights. Upon contact, the male driver provided officers with fictitious names. Officers were able to determine the male’s true identity as Kaipo Lapenia-Lau (25). Checks revealed that Lapenia-Lau was operating the vehicle without a valid Driver’s License and had several warrants for his arrest.

As officers instructed Lapenia-Lau to exit the vehicle, Lapenia-Lau accelerated the vehicle; catching one of the assisting officers off guard, dragging the officer approximately three to four feet. As a result of the altercation, the officer suffered minor injuries. The officer was treated at the Maui Memorial Medical Center and released, returning to duty.

Lapenia-Lau fled the scene, and an All-Points Bulletin was placed for Lapenia-Lau’s arrest for an Assault on a Police Officer in the First Degree.

On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at approximately 9:05 a.m., the suspected vehicle was observed in the Mill Street area of Wailuku. Once the vehicle came to a stop, officers approached; the lone male operator identified as Lapenia-Lau began yelling at officers as he was ordered to exit the vehicle. Lapenia-Lau then accelerated and drove the vehicle towards an officer. The officer fired his duty weapon at the suspect’s vehicle out of fear of being hit by the vehicle. An assisting officer at the scene also fired his duty weapon at the vehicle as he observed the vehicle driving towards his fellow officer. Lapenia-Lau was not struck by the fired shots, and a vehicle pursuit ensued. Lapenia-Lau fled to a residence in Waihee where he was subsequently located and taken into police custody. Lapenia-Lau was treated and released by medics at the scene with minor injuries he sustained from broken glass.

Lapenia-Lau was placed under arrest for Assault on a Police Officer in the First Degree, Attempted Murder in the First Degree, and Resisting an Order to Stop a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree.

As per departmental procedures, both officers involved in the incident are on Administrative Leave with pay. The investigation is still on-going

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